As the proponent and implementation agency for the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan (CPCP), the department will prepare a modification to adjust the certified-urban capable land and avoided land where minor adjustments are identified at the site level.
Landholders wishing to request amendment to certified-urban capable land on their land must demonstrate how their proposal meets the modification application criteria.
The department will assess requested amendments to the CPCP’s mapping and compile it into a single modification for public exhibition and ultimately consideration by the NSW Minister for the Environment.
- Requests for amendments open
- Landowners submit draft application form for initial advice (optional)
- Landowners submit formal application form and pay an application fee
- Department assesses individual amendments against application criteria
- Eligible landowners pay assessment fee (only if required)
- Accredited assessor prepares modification
- Public exhibition of modification
- Revision of the modification package
- NSW Minister for Environment considers modification application
- Department amends SEPP to reflect approved modification mapping
Landholders wishing to be considered as part of a modification application will be required to demonstrate how their proposal meets the modification criteria.
The modification application criteria are:
- An application must be for certified-urban capable land and avoided land within a nominated area (Greater Macarthur Growth Area, Wilton Growth Area, Western Sydney Aerotropolis or Greater Penrith-Eastern Creek). Applications for excluded land will not be considered as part of this process.
- An application must not apply to Commonwealth owned land (as defined in the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999).
- An application can be made where it can demonstrate the CPCP avoidance criteria are still achieved. These criteria were used to determine the CPCP’s urban capable and avoided land footprints and underpin the plan’s statutory approvals. Alignment with these avoidance criteria will ensure that all landholders in the CPCP area are being treated equally, and ensures the overall approval of the CPCP under biodiversity legislation is not compromised.
- An application must not reduce the average minimum width of the koala corridors as outlined in the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer koala advice.
- An application must demonstrate that all alternative site designs that align with CPCP mapping have been exhausted.
- An application should be associated with a planning proposal that aligns with precinct planning, local or site planning or a biodiversity stewardship agreement.
- Amendments should be based on CPCP data available on SEED (NSW Government’s central resource for Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data). It is not required or recommended to acquire additional ecological data.
- If all other alternatives have been exhausted and the amendments are impacting native vegetation, applicants will be required to agree to secure additional biodiversity offsets within the CPCP’s strategic conservation area or by paying into Biodiversity Conservation Trust, pending approval of the modification.
What does a modification cost?
There are fees associated with processing and assessing modification applications, though the application fee may be waived for small individual landholders.
The fee is charged in two parts:
- Application fee - $1,000 charged to all applicants on lodgement of a formal application. This fee will cover initial engagement and assessment of the proposal’s viability. A draft application is strongly encouraged to help avoid formal applications being lodged that are unlikely to be successful.
- Assessment fee - $14,000 for landowners whose lot is greater than 2 hectares. This fee will be charged once the department has assessed a formal application and confirmed its inclusion in the modification.
An additional fee may be required where significant additional ecological data is to be reviewed and included in the CPCP modification. Any such fee will be determined on a case-by-case basis and is intended to cover the cost associated with the accredited assessor’s consideration of that information. The accredited assessor is required to verify the accuracy of all information submitted to the Minister for the Environment as part of the modification.
CPCP avoidance criteria
The proposed amendment avoids or minimises impacts to:
Threatened ecological communities and PCTs
- patches of Critically Endangered Ecological Communities in good condition, or
- highly cleared PCTs (over 90% cleared in NSW) in good condition, or
- TECs that are subject to serious and irreversible impacts (SAII entities) in good condition.
- known habitat^ for critically endangered species or SAII entities (species) OR SOS species polygons where species-specific habitat is present OR large populations of threatened species (relative to typical size for that species) or primary Koala habitat
- known habitat^ for endangered species or secondary koala habitat
- known habitat^ for vulnerable species.
Landscape/ecological processes and priorities
- land identified as Priority Conservation Lands OR Bio Map core areas OR important local habitat corridors for key species, including koala
- land identified as Bio Map regional corridors OR areas that provide significant opportunities to support important local habitat corridors for key species, including koala
- areas identified on the Biodiversity Values Map.
Definitions that apply to the modification request form include:
CPCP avoidance criteria were developed to help identify priorities for avoiding biodiversity values from development. These criteria provided detailed guidance, consistent with that provided in the Biodiversity Assessment Method, to inform decisions about the location and design of the urban capable land to be certified for development in each nominated area.
CPCP means the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan, prepared by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, and endorsed by the Minister for the Environment on 17 August 2022. The CPCP is a strategic conservation plan to manage and offset the impacts on biodiversity from projected growth in Western Sydney. The CPCP will deliver a conservation program to protect and enhance biodiversity at a landscape scale while balancing the future needs of the local community.
CPCP modification means a formal modification of the boundary of certified-urban capable land and avoided land through certification under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW). Landholders can request minor amendments at the site level to avoided land and certified-urban capable land under the CPCP. The department will assess landholder’s amendment requests and compile these into a single modification for public consultation and ultimately for the consideration of the NSW Minister for the Environment.
The Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer koala advice is evidence-based scientific advice to government on a range of difficult challenges. In compiling this advice, OCSE assembles panels and committees comprised of eminent academics and experts in relevant fields. In April 2020 the OSCE published a report, Advice on the protection of the Campbelltown Koala population (Chief Scientist Koala Report 2020) which was considered during development of the draft CPCP. A second expert panel provided updated advice to the department (published in December 2021) including 31 principles to be applied for the protection of the Southern Sydney koala population and an assessment of the proposed protection measures of the CPCP.
SEPP in this document refers to the new strategic conservation planning chapter of the Biodiversity and Conservation State Environmental Planning Policy that applies to the CPCP.
Threatened ecological communities are listed by the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW) and/or the Commonwealth Threatened Species Scientific Committee under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). A threatened ecological community may be listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered depending on the level of threat and risk of its collapse.