A NSW Government website

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.

The NSW Government is investing in understanding 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 suitable and ready-to-deploy AI and digital products that councils can start using right away.

AI Solutions Panel

The AI Solutions Panel was established in April 2024 and is a centralised resource of mature and suitable AI products that councils can procure and integrate into their development assessment workflows.

Solutions were evaluated against essential criteria including, but not limited to, alignment with the identified use cases and compliance with all relevant NSW Government AI policies such as the NSW AI Assurance Framework and AI Ethics Policy.

All NSW councils can initiate procurement for product solutions through the AI Solutions Panel.

The AI Solutions Panel will be routinely refreshed with additional AI solutions that are market-ready, and address use cases identified in collaboration with NSW Councils.

In May 2024, the department announced a new competitive tender process to expand the AI Solutions Panel with an additional priority use case. The application period for suppliers to submit their AI product solutions closed on 11 June 2024. Evaluation of applications is underway.

How to use the AI Solutions Panel

Information and guidance for councils on how to use the AI Solutions Panel.

AI Solutions Panel Product Showcase

On Friday 3 May 2024 the department held a virtual event for councils, showcasing the successful products available on the AI Solutions Panel. The showcase event included an introduction to the panel, supplier presentations and Q&A.

Council staff can request a recording of the event by contacting the AI in NSW Planning project team at [email protected]

Suppliers on the AI Solutions Panel

The list of successful suppliers, the selected product solutions and a brief summary of the product offering.

Councils may request detailed supplier information, including pricing and product details, by contacting the AI in NSW Planning project team at [email protected]

Early Adopter Grant Program

The NSW Government has awarded more than $2.7 million to 16 councils to trial AI in their planning systems through the Early Adopter Grant Program. Councils will utilise grant funding to implement AI solutions from the existing selection of products on the AI Solutions Panel.

The objectives of the grant are to:

  • progressively improve the assessment effort and overall DA processing efficiency through the enhancement of the pre-lodgement DA process
  • enable councils to readily introduce AI technology into their digital environments
  • improve the DA process for all users, including homeowners, councils and developers, and provide confidence to the building industry
  • help achieve annual dwelling targets across NSW by enhancing the local DA process.

Applications for the Early Adopter Grant Program were open 30 April to 22 May 2024. For more information on the grant program, read the Early Adopter Grant Program Guideline (PDF, 4.3 MB).

Grant funding recipients

Successful councils will be required to report on and demonstrate progress throughout the grant project. Grant projects must be completed by 30 June 2025.

CouncilFunding amount
Bayside City Council$120,000
Blacktown City Council$190,000
Burwood Council$200,000
Cessnock City Council$200,000
City of Canterbury Bankstown$194,228
City of Newcastle Council, Central Coast Council
and Muswellbrook Shire Council (joint application)
Cumberland City Council$190,000
Eurobodalla Shire Council$169,116
Hawkesbury City Council$143,938
Inner West Council$156,000
Lake Macquarie City Council$200,000
Randwick City Council$190,400
Wagga Wagga City Council$170,000
Wingecarribee Shire Council$200,000

Key dates

Dates may be subject to change.

30 April 2024AI Solutions Panel established
3 May 2024AI Solutions Panel Product Showcase for NSW councils
7 May 2024Contracting framework training session for NSW councils
16 May 2024Applications open to industry for new tender process
22 May 2024Early Adopter Grant Program applications close
11 June 2024Applications close for new tender process
Early July 2024Grant funding distributed
July 2024Evaluation and outcome of new tender process

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 has confirmed a panel of suitable existing and mature AI solutions that councils can readily integrate into their pre-lodgement workflows. The successful solutions are now 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. Selected solutions have met proof-of-value and proof-of-concept requirements.

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 initially identified 4 key priority areas, or ‘use cases’, for the application of AI.

We encouraged suppliers to demonstrate how their solution addresses these priority areas through the first tender process for the AI Solutions Panel. 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 councils may 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 councils may 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 council staff may quickly identify non-compliant elements within a submission (for development applications and/or complying development) so that the triage process is efficient and improves council’s productivity.

4. Material assurance

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

In May 2024, we identified an additional priority area for industry suppliers to demonstrate how their solution addresses the following ‘use case’ through a new competitive open tender process for the AI Solutions Panel.

The additional priority area is:

5. Site-specific documentation support

How might council provide guidance on site specific development application documentation, so that the relevance and quality of documents improves, and the pre-lodgement process is more efficient?

Why is there a new competitive open tender process for the AI Solutions Panel?

The AI Solutions Panel will be routinely refreshed with additional AI solutions that are market-ready, and address use cases identified in collaboration with NSW councils.

The first competitive open tender process was announced in February 2024 and resulted in the establishment of the AI Solutions Panel.

The latest open tender process was announced in May 2024 with applications closing on 11 June 2024. 

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

The department co-designed the priority areas alongside councils, through several collaboration sessions. This approach has ensured that the AI product solutions demonstrate a required improvement in council pre-lodgement workflows, and the ability to 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 additional rounds of the Grant Program be available in next financial year?

There is currently only one round of funding available.

What metrics or outcomes will be used to determine the success of the AI tools in streamlining the DA assessments?

Grant recipients will be required to give regular project milestone reports and a final acquittal report at the completion of the Grant Project, and to participate in ongoing program evaluation and benefits appraisal.

The department may pursue a structured benefits realisation path post 30 June 2024, dependent on continued funding decisions.

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.

Register your interest


Phase 1 - Discovery

November 2023 to January 2024

Consultation workshops with councils and government.

Phase 2 – Evaluation

February to April 2024

Industry tender applications open and evaluation of AI product solutions.

Phase 3 – Establishment & Grant Program

April to May 2024

AI Solutions Panel established.

Early Adopter Grant Program applications open.

New tender process to refresh selection of AI products begins. 

Phase 4 – Implementation

From June 2024

Grant funding distributed to successful councils. Applications of new tender process close.