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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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On 5 August 2020 we announced the launch of a $250 million NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program as part of ongoing work to protect the health of the community, provide economic and jobs stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver a legacy of safe, quality public and open space.


The program incentivises local councils to accelerate their assessments of development applications (DAs) and rezonings to create new development capacity and meet demand for housing and employment over the next decade.


Funding for the planning, design, construction or land acquisition costs for new and existing public and open space will be made available to 68 councils across NSW that are using (or mandated to use) the ePlanning system, that adopt a Local Acceleration Program, provided they can achieve improvements in assessment activity between 1 September 2020 and 30 June 2021.


Eligible public space projects include new or upgraded open and public space including regional and district public and open spaces and linear parklands, trails and strategic public and open space linkages, foreshore and riverfront precincts. This includes improvements for water-based recreation such as launching small watercraft, access to waterways for swimming, trails and picnic areas.


Funding will also be made available for urban amenity improvements including civic plazas, town squares and main street precincts that improve connections between public space, promoting walkability and greater accessibility.


Program purpose

Accelerating the assessment and determination of local DAs will bolster the construction pipeline through 2021 to 2024 and build on the short-term acceleration work completed through the department’s Accelerated Assessment Program.


Accelerating local projects and providing new public and open space provides economic benefits and the opportunity to create a public space legacy for future generations, matching increases in development activity with broader, lasting public benefits.


Phase two applications

As part of the first phase of the program, Councils were asked to submit a plan to the department on how they would accelerate local projects and demonstrate improvement in assessment timeframes and outcomes. Councils that have met the first phase performance targets and qualified to apply for grant funding under the program are invited to submit a detailed public and open space project proposal.


Applications are now closed.


Successful nominations will be confirmed on or before 20 April 2021.


For more information about the program you can:


Download the guidelines

Funding will be available to 68 councils across NSW currently engaged with the ePlanning Program and which represent 82 per cent of total development applications considered by all 128 councils in NSW. The approach means we can further encourage councils to use ePlanning.


Each council has different public and open space needs and varying underlying land costs, so funding will be assigned differently – whether a metropolitan developed council, a metropolitan fringe council, a regional city, a large rural council or a rural council.


Office of Local Government Category Councils Upper limit allocation per council
Metropolitan developed councils (with open space shortfall)
Bayside Council, Burwood Council, Camden Council, Canterbury-Bankstown Council, Cumberland Council   $5.5 million
Metropolitan developed council
Blacktown City Council, Willoughby City Council, Council of the City of Sydney, The Hills Shire Council, Woollahra Municipal Council, Northern Beaches Council, Mosman Municipal Council, The Council of The Municipality of Hunters Hill, Waverley Council, Lane Cove Municipal Council, North Sydney Council, Inner West Council, Sutherland Shire Council, Ryde City Council, City of Parramatta Council, Randwick City Council, Liverpool City Council, Strathfield Municipal Council, Fairfield City Council, Ku-Ring-Gai Council, City of Canada Bay Council, Georges River Council  $4.75 million
Metropolitan fringe council
Wollondilly Shire Council, Central Coast Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Penrith City Council, Hawkesbury City Council, The Council of The Shire of Hornsby, Campbelltown City Council  $4 million
Regional city council Coffs Harbour City Council, Cessnock City Council, Dubbo Regional Council, Maitland City Council, Clarence Valley Council, Shoalhaven City Council, Port Stephens Council, Tweed Shire Council, Byron Shire Council, Albury City Council, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Mid-Coast Council, Lake Macquarie City Council, Wingecarribee Shire Council, The Council of The Municipality of Kiama, Shellharbour City Council, Wollongong City Council, Armidale Regional Council, Newcastle City Council  $3 million
Large rural and Rural council Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council, Snowy Valleys Council, Tenterfield Shire Council, Cowra Shire Council, Uralla Shire Council, Leeton Shire Council, Forbes Shire Council, Gunnedah Shire Council, Hilltops Council, Kyogle Council, Upper Hunter Shire Council, Yass Valley Council, Glen Innes Severn Shire Council, Moree Plains Shire Council, Murrumbidgee Council
 $2 million
Categories are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Classification of Local Government Office of Local Government Groupings.

Councils will demonstrate that they have achieved the assessment performance improvements from 1 September 2020 to 30 June 2021.


Funding will be released to councils for various stages of public space project delivery from early 2021 to project completion before 31 December 2022.


Details of the funding schedule are available in the Guidelines.


Councils’ proposed acceleration programs will be reviewed by an interagency steering committee, who will provide a recommendation to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces for approval.

Page last updated: 09/04/2021