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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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Since April 2020, the NSW Government has been committed to accelerating the assessment and determination of projects that inject investment into the NSW economy and keep people in jobs.


Through the Planning System Acceleration Program we accelerated determination of 101 major projects and planning proposals in 24 weeks, creating the opportunity for up to 50,000 jobs, 25,000 dwellings, $25 billion in economic value and 400 hectares of open space.


The NSW Government has now announced the next phase of work to set the State on the right course for economic and social recovery. The new Priority Assessment Program will case-manage larger, more complex projects through the planning system, with lead times of up to 2 years for delivery.


What is the aim of the program?

The planning system will be an important lever to support investment and job growth as the NSW Government continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The program will identify and case manage public or private sector projects with the potential to deliver a strong pipeline of investment, public benefit, growth and jobs over the medium term and continue to support our State’s economic recovery.


Priority Assessment Program – Process explained

Projects from the public and private sector will be considered for the program from those that are already in the planning system or have come to the department’s attention through the fast-track process and would benefit from case management. State Significant Infrastructure (SSI), State Significant Development (SSD) and Planning Proposals will be considered.


Strict criteria will govern project selection – they will be strategically important to the State or a region and provide considerable investment, public benefit, environmental and design outcomes, together with growth and jobs over the medium term. Projects will be selected through a 3-stage process informed by correspondence and insights from councils, proponents & agencies including:

  • A high-level review for potential alignment with program objectives.
  • A detailed review of project assumptions and status.
  • Verification of assumptions working with the proponent.


If chosen for the program, the department will work with the proponent to agree on timeframes assessment pathways and outcomes for the project. 


Inclusion in the program doesn’t pre-determine the assessment outcome. All projects are considered in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and subject to the same level of rigorous assessment and opportunity for consultation as at any other time.


Projects selected for the program will be limited to ensure timeframes and Service Agreements can be met and selected projects will be published on the department’s website.


For more detailed information, read the Program Overview and Participation Criteria (PDF, 475 KB).


How to take part in the program

The department will review proposed and existing planning proposals, SSD and SSI projects to determine whether they should be selected as part of the program.


If proponents wish to alert the department to a particular project, please provide information by completing a request form on our Planning Portal.


For more information on the Priority Assessment Program, you can read our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 80 KB)



An independent probity advisor was appointed to ensure a robust and transparent prioritisation process.


Coordination is occurring across all key State Government agencies, as well as within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and a new Planning Delivery Unit has been created to streamline agency approvals and ensure any inter-agency road-blocks are identified and mitigated.


More information

For more information on the Priority Assessment Program, you can:


Stakeholders with further questions can contact the department via email.

Page last updated: 30/11/2020