NSW Department of Planning and Environment

As the NSW population grows so does urban growth. The department seeks to support this growth by protecting the natural environment, allowing more people to connect with and enjoy it through increased access to green space. Protecting our natural environment through strengthened conservation outcomes as the state’s population grows will keep our communities and natural environment healthy and resilient for the long term.


Strategic conservation planning is an approach to assessing and conserving our native plants and animals early in the planning process for large scale urban development, to ensure they are protected.

It enables decision-makers to identify and protect the most important areas for plants and animals while also identifying areas suitable for development for housing and infrastructure for local communities.

The impacts of development to threatened plants and animals are offset through a conservation program. A conservation plan will help protect the region’s native plants and animals by adding land to existing public reserves, establishing new public reserves, restoring degraded areas and by providing opportunities for landholders to establish biodiversity stewardship sites on privately owned land.  

Benefits of strategic conservation planning

Strategic conservation planning provides for a landscape scale approach to assessing and protecting biodiversity upfront in planning for large scale future development. It moves beyond a site by site assessment and offsetting approach and will:

  • improve ecological resilience and function over the long term
  • enhance the network of conservation areas and protect unique and vulnerable species
  • provide for publicly accessible green and open spaces for the local community
  • streamline the delivery of priority housing, land for employment and transport infrastructure. 

Our conservation plans

Find out where we've applied the strategic conservation planning approach:

What is strategic conservation planning?

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The conservation plan will help deliver the Western Sydney Parkland City, supporting communities in Sydney’s fastest growing region and protecting the region’s unique variety of plants, animals and their habitats, including the largest koala population in Sydney.

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Strategic conservation planning on the Central Coast will facilitate urban growth while protecting the region’s many plants, animals and their habitats.

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Strategic conservation planning in Greater Newcastle will inform land use planning in the region.