NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Planning agreements policy

Planning agreements are a tool that allows planning authorities and developers to work together to deliver innovative infrastructure outcomes.

Planning agreements can be negotiated at both the local and State government level. They are a legal agreement between a developer and a planning authority and are usually negotiated when a developer is submitting a development application or a planning proposal.

  • State planning agreements: These are negotiated between a developer and the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, for the provision of regional or State infrastructure. Information on State planning agreements, including a guide for applicants (PDF, 441 KB) and a register of these agreements, can be found at State Voluntary Planning Agreements.
  • Local planning agreements: These are negotiated between a developer and a council, for the provision of infrastructure to support communities. Each council must keep a register of all planning agreements they enter into and make this register available to the public.

The policies that govern how planning agreements can be used are found below. They include legislation, directions made by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and practice notes.

Legislation

Changes to infrastructure contributions

New reporting requirements for planning agreements

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 has been amended to improve transparency and accountability in the receipt by planning authorities of money, land and works in planning agreements. The new reporting requirements will commence on 1 July 2022.

For more information on the new requirements, refer to the Planning Circular (PDF, 157 KB) and frequently asked questions (PDF, 178 KB). The amending instrument is available on the NSW Legislation website.

Ministerial Directions

Name Date issued Description
Environmental Planning and Assessment (Planning Agreements) Direction 2018 (PDF, 96 KB) 28 February 2019 Requires all councils to consider a series of matters when negotiating a planning agreement with a developer for the purposes of affordable housing in connection with a development.

Practice notes

The Planning Agreements Practice Note was updated in February 2021 to address recommendations from the Kaldas review and to align with contemporary best practice and references. It now contains explanatory note requirements which have been transferred from the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Name Date issued Description
Practice Note on Planning Agreements (PDF, 333 KB) February 2021 This practice note provides detailed guidance on the negotiation, administration and making of planning agreements.

Note: The practice note on planning agreements should be read in conjunction with other infrastructure contributions practice notes.

Circulars

From time to time the department will issue circulars providing additional information on a variety of policy issues. If you would like to look at a particular circular, go to Planning System Circulars.

Revoked or superseded documents

Practice notes and Ministerial Directions which have been superseded are maintained for reference. You can view superseded documents relating to planning agreements policy in the list below:

Name Date issued Description Revoked by
Practice Note on Planning Agreements (PDF, 327 KB) July 2005 This practice note provides detailed guidance on the negotiation, administration and making of planning agreements. Practice Note on Planning Agreements (PDF, 333 KB) issued in February 2021

Page last updated: 10/02/2023