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Artificial Intelligence in NSW Planning

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help accelerate planning processes by harnessing the power of big data, improving productivity and reducing the administrative burden on planners.

We launched an AI in NSW Planning project in November 2023 to contribute to increasing housing supply and affordability in NSW by encouraging councils to adopt AI technology to streamline the development application process.

The NSW Government is investing $5.6 million to explore how existing and mature AI and other digital solutions can be used by councils to enhance the local development application process, particularly in the pre-lodgement phase.

The AI in NSW Planning project is focused on delivering 2 key outcomes:


1. Enabling councils to assess development applications more efficiently by improving the quality of submitted applications.


2. Identifying a selection of fit-for-purpose and ready-to-deploy AI and digital products that councils can start using right away.

Evaluation of AI product solutions is underway

The application period for suppliers to submit their AI product solutions closed on 11 March 2024. Evaluation of applications has now commenced.

Solutions are being evaluated against essential criteria including, but not limited to, how well they meet the identified use cases and compliance with relevant NSW Government AI policies such as the NSW AI Assurance Framework and AI Ethics Policy.

By June 2024, we will release a centralised resource of selected AI solutions that councils can procure and integrate into their development assessment workflows.

Key dates

Dates may be subject to change.

14 February 2024Applications open to industry
11 March 2024Applications close
March 2024Evaluation of applications
April 2024Applicants notified of outcome
April 2024Products and solutions showcase
By June 2024Solutions available to councils

Frequently asked questions

What is AI and how can it help in state’s planning system?

Artificial intelligence refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines, enabling them to perform tasks that typically require human thinking. This can include problem-solving, learning and decision-making.

Most AI tools use ‘machine learning’. Instead of telling a machine what to do, AI tools work by giving them lots of examples of the right and wrong way to do a task – and the machine learns for itself. For example, if you give an AI tool lots of data that shows a driverless car being driven correctly – it eventually learns to do the same itself.

The department is exploring how AI can help NSW councils create workflow efficiencies at the pre-lodgement phase of the local development application process, that is, the aspects related to preparing an application. The project will evaluate and confirm a list of suitable existing and mature AI solutions that councils can readily integrate into their pre-lodgement workflows. The successful solutions will be made available on an approved supplier list for councils to procure and implement.

Will the department be looking at existing AI solutions in the market or developing a new product?

As much as possible, the department is focusing on existing and mature AI product solutions. Solutions will need to meet proof-of-value and proof-of-concept requirements, which will be established as part of this project.

Is this project limited to the pre-lodgement phase for development applications or will solutions for complying development certificates and development assessment be considered?

In collaboration with councils, we have identified 4 key priority areas, or ‘use cases’, for the application of AI.

We encourage suppliers to demonstrate how their solution addresses these priority areas. The identified focus areas allow for solutions workflows such as complying development certificates to be considered as part of this process.

The 4 key priority areas are:

1. Pathways and requirements finder

How might councils help prospective applicants identify site specific development requirements (for complying development and/or development applications), so that they can expedite their development process?

2. Material self-assessment health check

How might councils help applicants conduct a self-assessment before lodgement of their development application, so that that they can address any potential barriers or gaps in their documentation?

3. Risk-based triage

How might council staff quickly identify non-compliant elements within a submission (for development applications and/or complying development requests), so that the triage process is efficient and improves council's productivity?

4. Material assurance

How might council staff verify an applicant's supplied documentation, so that they can have confidence about the quality and provenance of the material submitted?

How will the department ensure that AI products align with the specific needs of each council?

We have worked closely with councils to ensure solutions are aligned with their needs. Solutions will be evaluated not only on how well they function but on how easily they can be integrated into existing council systems.

How will data privacy and security be managed and assured within the AI products?

Data privacy and security will be prioritised, with robust measures in place to ensure the safe handling and protection of all information. All products will be evaluated against existing legal frameworks, the NSW Government AI Assurance Framework and the NSW AI Ethics Policy.

Will the department provide financial support to councils to implement these tools?

We are exploring funding options to support councils with early adoption and implementation of these tools.

How does the department plan to manage public trust when using AI?

The department will adhere to the NSW Government AI Assurance Framework and NSW AI Ethics Policy, which set out 5 overarching principles: trust, transparency, customer benefit, fairness, privacy and accountability.

A key ethical pillar of any use of AI in planning will be transparency. This will guide how the department and councils engage with external providers of AI technologies. Intellectual property rights around models and algorithms will need to be considered in any engagements with service providers. The department and councils must be able to provide their customers with meaningful information about how decisions are made and how data is used.

Will the project impact functionality of the NSW Planning Portal?

This project focuses on solutions that will apply to the pre-lodgement phase of the local development application process. Any changes to the NSW Planning Portal are out of scope for this project.

Register your interest


Phase 1 – Discovery

November 2023 to January 2024

Consultation workshops with councils and government.

Phase 2 – Evaluation

February to April 2024

Tender applications open and evaluation of AI product solutions.

Phase 3 – Establishment

By June 2024

Product showcase and selected AI product solutions available to councils.