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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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The department is committed to help keep the economy moving and people in jobs.

 

In July 2020, as part of the planning reforms work, we introduced a new ‘Planning Delivery Unit’ to progress priority planning projects, both development applications (DAs) and planning proposals, that may be ‘stuck’ in the system.

 

 

Planning Delivery Unit – What we do

The Planning Delivery Unit (PDU) becomes involved when development applications and planning proposals move too slowly through the NSW planning system.

 

We work with proponents, councils and NSW Government agencies to resolve issues so that decisions can be made more promptly.

 

We don’t make decisions, and normal planning processes resume once the issues have been resolved.

 

The PDU operates in three main ways:

 

  1. Case management – to resolve significant stalled projects by coordination and mediation
  2. Concierge Service – to help new investors navigate the NSW planning system
  3. Planning reform – improving systems and gathering ideas on how to improve the planning system.

 

The PDU is based within the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and reports directly to the Secretary. All existing planning powers remain with agencies and councils, which also remain accountable for their decisions.

 

Projects selection process

The Planning Delivery Unit may become involved with projects that are currently under assessment or in post consent approval phase that are experiencing unreasonable delays.

 

Intervention in projects is at the discretion of the Planning Delivery Unit, and key considerations are relevant when deciding whether a project can progress through the PDU.

 

Projects can be referred to the PDU by developers, councils or government agencies. If you wish to submit a request please contact the PDU team via email.

 

 

More about the Planning Delivery Unit

When a project has been delayed for too long in the planning system the PDU may get involved, which can be at the request of a developer, council or government agency.

 

The PDU can facilitate resolutions by:

  • Convening relevant parties to work together toward a solution.
  • Establishing an agreed mediation process.
  • Liaising between the consent authority and applicant.
  • When needed, using the Secretary’s legislative step-in powers to make a decision in place of an approval body.

 

The PDU is not responsible for the determination or approval of projects. Our role is to proactively work with developers, councils and agencies to resolve issues that are delaying decision-making, to ensure timely determinations. Case management by the PDU does not guarantee an approval.

The PDU recognises that, for some new investors, the planning system can be difficult to navigate.

 

The Planning Concierge is a landing pad for potential investors in the State and stands ready to help them overcome barriers and complexities so that new projects are not held up unnecessarily. The Concierge will seek to provide certainty and ensure the planning system is not perceived as an impediment to invest in NSW.

 

The Concierge:

  • provides a single point of contact for domestic and international investors who may need to interact with the NSW planning system.
  • assists major proponents to establish a clear planning pathway without compromising sound planning decisions.
  • coordinates agencies across all levels of government at an early stage to identify and resolve issues before a potential project enters the planning system.
  • manages general referrals, including Foreign Investment Review Board applications, from government agencies that involve a planning transaction.
  • triages potential projects with high economic and public benefit for consideration as part of the Priority Assessment Program.

The PDU:

  • works directly with agencies and councils to reduce concurrences and referrals and to identify system and legislative improvements.
  • ensures appropriate agency staff are involved, with advice and input focused on relevant issues.
  • addresses assessment backlogs and build capacity in councils and agencies.
  • realigns referral processes in collaboration with councils and agencies to support continued rollout of ePlanning and ‘back of house’ improvements.
  • focuses on collaborative whole-of-government solutions to projects using, when needed and as a last resort, the Planning Secretary’s step-in powers.
  • identifies trends and resolve systemic issues for planning proposals and significant development applications.

The decision to case manage a project is at the discretion of the Planning Delivery Unit (PDU), which makes an assessment based on whether the project meets any of the following criteria:

  • It is a regionally significant development (RSD) as defined under Schedule 7 of State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011.
  • It is a local development with a Capital Investment Value greater than $5 million (excluding dwelling houses/dual occupancies) with one or more integrated development requirements; or a regional project that delivers jobs and local economic benefit.
  • It is a development carried out by or on behalf of the Crown (under Division 4.6 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979).
  • It is a priority project such as complex or strategic planning proposals or precincts, including projects nominated by councils, particularly where there are blockages with agencies.
  • It delivers of a significant proportion of ‘build to rent’, social or affordable, seniors housing or key worker housing.
  • It is directly linked to, delivers benefits from and/or will be catalyst to deliver state or regional level infrastructure.
  • It provides significant community facilities, public spaces, green infrastructure, social/environmental benefits, quality design, or assists self-determination for Aboriginal people.
  • It has strategic merit by giving effect to directions and priorities set by relevant commonwealth, state, regional and/or district plans.

 

The PDU may also assist with projects that:

  • have been lodged and are currently under assessment, or relate to a post-consent approval matter (including satisfactory arrangements for regional infrastructure or a planning agreement) with the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.
  • have experienced unreasonable delays in the determination due to factors such as outstanding concurrences or a referral request with a government agency.
  • have been delayed by unresolved council assessment matters (including lack of appropriate resources) with the assessment time having exceeded 120 days.
  • are for a site that is subject to significant environment issues such as flooding, bushfire, contamination, heritage, ecology, transport, infrastructure or natural/ mineral resource constraints.

 

The PDU will not become involved with projects that are under appeal to the Land and Environment Court.

 

How to submit a project to the Planning Delivery Unit

Projects can be referred to the Planning Delivery Unit by developers, councils or government agencies. 

 

To submit requests, please contact the PDU team via email.

The Planning Delivery Unit (PDU) is focused on customers and outcomes. We are committed to speedy, transparent communication and to meeting clear service level agreements with agencies, councils and proponents.

 

Once a project that you’ve nominated has been accepted by the PDU for case management, you will be contacted by a member of the team.

 

Each complex project will have a unique Case Management Plan that will detail the key issues to be resolved, relevant stakeholders, strategy for resolving issues and the terms of reference for any working groups (if required). For more easily resolved matters, we will provide an update on actions to be taken.

 

At the completion of the PDU’s involvement on a complex project, a close-out interview will be held.

 

We commit to meeting these customer service timeframes:


Actions  Timeframes 
Response to request for project assistance
Within five working days
Development of Case Management Plan for a complex project
Within 10 working days after initial response 
Case Management updates
Weekly 
Case Management close-out for a complex project
Within 10 working days from completion of PDU activity
Response to general enquiries
Within five working days 
Provision of data to agencies/councils
Ongoing through agency/council concurrence and referral dashboard
Within three working days if not available through the above