NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Community Participation Plans

It will be clearer and easier for members of the community to understand how they can participate in planning decisions, with new community participation plans (CPPs) that all planning authorities – every council and NSW agency with key planning approval functions – will need to prepare. CPPs are a new requirement under the EP&A Act.

The CPPs will set out how planning authorities will engage with their communities across their statutory planning functions. While the plans must meet the minimum requirements for community participation that are set out in Schedule 1 to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, planning authorities can go beyond the minimum requirements if they decide it is appropriate.

The EP&A Act also now requires planning decision-makers to give and publicly notify reasons for their decisions, including how community views were considered, on key planning matters.


In November 2019, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment finalised its Community Participation Plan after having exhibited a draft CPP for feedback in 2018.

You can now read the final CPP and some of our community engagement case studies.

Read our Community Participation Plan


All applicable NSW planning authorities are required to have the final version of their community participation plan in place by 1 December 2019.

As part of an ongoing consultation process, the Department held a webinar to talk through the draft Community Participation Plan and what the new requirement means for the NSW Planning Authorities.

In March 2019, the Department held a second webinar to update councils on the implementation of the community participation plan measure across NSW.

Find below a series of resources to help answer some of the common questions on the Department's CPP and the implementation program:

Why have CPPs been introduced and will they duplicate work already being carried out by councils?

The Government is committed to enhancing opportunities for all members of the community to participate in planning decisions to achieve better planning outcomes. The new CPPs will detail how each planning authority will engage the community in the planning decisions it makes.

In preparing their plans authorities will have to take into consideration new community participation principles, which set the standard for how the community should be engaged.

Councils may choose to meet their obligation for a CPP by incorporating the CPP requirements into the broader community engagement strategies they prepare under local government legislation but need to ensure the document meets the requirements of the EP&A Act.

Why do decision-makers need to publish the reasons for decisions?

The requirement to give and publicly notify reasons for decisions came into effect on 1 July 2018.

It is a requirement for all planning authorities to make available the reason for their planning decisions. This helps to deliver greater transparency and community confidence in the NSW planning process. It will make it easier for stakeholders to understand how their input, and that of others, was considered and how this input informed decisions on development applications.

The statement of reasons needs to be meaningful. It needs to clearly set out, in a manner reflecting the complexity of the proposed development being considered, how community views were taken into account. Read the Department’s guidance, Notifying Planning Decisions - Guidelines for local councils and other consent authorities (PDF, 399 KB) on how councils and other consent authorities notify the community of planning decisions.

More information

Page last updated: 22/11/2022