Skip to main content
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Share:

The NSW Planning Reform Action Plan will build on the momentum from the current reform measures that are underway to create a more timely, certain and transparent planning system.


The Action Plan includes measures to reduce assessment times for planning proposals, regionally significant development applications and major projects, implement the next stage of ePlanning, provide new resources for the Land and Environment Court, reduce concurrence and referral cases between agencies, and review application fees with a link to speed of assessment.

Faster Assessments Program

The Faster Assessments Program will combine new resources with system improvements to slash assessment times. The changes will see:

  • Rezoning decisions cut by 191 days (a 33 per cent time saving);
  • Decisions on development applications for larger, regionally significant projects cut by 91 days (a 25 per cent time saving); and
  • Decisions on major projects of significance to the State cut by 20 days (a 17 per cent time saving).

This measure will help to stimulate the economy by reducing developer holding costs, administrative costs around preparation of development applications and minimizing the time spent navigating the planning system.

Concurrences and referrals

A new team will help to eliminate bureaucratic road-blocks by reducing the number of applications that need concurrences and referrals, and introducing benchmark time frames for key assessment and planning functions.


The Planning Delivery Unit (PDU) will reduce concurrence and referral requests by 25 per cent over the next 3 years.


This will help increase investor confidence in the planning system and lead to faster decisions, providing greater certainty for the community and industry.

Land and Environment Court

The role and resourcing of the Land and Environment Court will be boosted to help clear the backlog of appeals.


Two new commissioners will be appointed, which will allow approximately 150 more matters to be considered each year.


A new class of appeals will also be established to act as a circuit breaker for rezonings that have been delayed in the system too long. The changes will drive greater accountability and enable a final decision to be reached more efficiently. 

Complying Development Reforms

Reforms to complying development, focused on employment areas, will offer a fast-tracked approval pathway for low impact development, with projects that meet strict construction and building standards able to be signed off by Council or an accredited certifier faster.


These changes will support greater innovation by expanding complying development opportunities and better tailoring assessment processes based on risk and complexity.

Accelerated whole of Government Precinct coordination

The Department will work with Councils and Government agencies to resolve complex issues at the planning stage, ensuring precincts are delivered with the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time to support our communities.


It will ensure there is coordination from the top down, and drive the delivery of housing and employment hubs across the State. 

NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program

We are working with councils to provide them with incentives to accelerate development applications and rezonings, meet local demand for housing and employment and deliver a legacy of safe, quality open and public space.


The $250 million program funding available to 68 councils engaged with the ePlanning program as at 1 July 2020. These councils must meet strict performance targets to access the funds, which can be used to improve or acquire open and public space.

More information

You can read our frequently asked questions [PDF, 110KB] for more information.

Page last updated: 07/08/2020