Our rapid assessment framework for state significant development (SSD) and state significant infrastructure (SSI) streamlines the assessment of major projects.
Types of state significant development
State significant development includes:
- new education facilities, hospitals and correctional centres
- chemical industries
- manufacturing facilities
- mining and extraction operations
- tourist and recreation facilities
- some port facilities
- waste management facilities
- energy generating facilities.
A proposal is considered state significant if it:
- is over a certain size
- is in a sensitive environmental area
- will exceed a specific capital investment value.
Development on identified sites can also be considered state significant. Examples include Sydney Olympic Park, Darling Harbour, the Bays Precinct and Barangaroo.
SSD types and sites are listed in schedules 1 and 2 of chapter 2 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Planning Systems) 2021.
The Minister for Planning may also ‘call in’ development proposals if a proposal is considered to be of state significance.
We’ve changed the way we charge applicants fees for assessment. All applicants have to pay a fee to have their application assessed by the department. Our practice had been consistent with case law, which allows for application fees to be paid up to the point of determination.
From 1 July 2021, all SSD applications, including modifications, require payment before they can be considered lodged. This provides certainty and consistency to applicants by aligning the timing of payment for development applications.
To minimise delays, it is important to make sure the information you supply to us is complete and correct when an application is submitted. This includes, providing a quantity surveyor’s report, where required, to support the capital investment value cited in the application.
All SSD applications are listed on the department's major projects website. The application and all supporting information are available to view online. The website's tracking system identifies what stage a project is up to in the assessment process.
Our assessment report and the application determination (including conditions of consent or reasons for refusal) are also made available on the major projects website.
How to lodge a state significant development application
Once you have determined that your proposal is SSD, you can lodge your application online at the major projects website.
The Independent Planning Commission is the consent authority for those SSD applications:
- that are not supported by relevant council(s)
- where the department has received more than 50 unique public objections
- that have been made by a person who has disclosed a reportable political donation in connection with the development application.
To find out more about applications referred to or determined by the commission, visit the Independent Planning Commission's website.
The Minister for Planning is the consent authority for all other SSD applications. The minister has delegated his power to make some decisions to senior officers of the department.
All applications for SSD are publicly exhibited for a minimum of 28 days (longer if the exhibition overlaps with the Christmas/New Year period between 20 December and 10 January [inclusive]).
During public exhibition, we will:
- notify surrounding residents in writing (council is consulted on the notification area, which will vary depending on the scope of the proposal) unless the application is public notification development including mining and petroleum (oil and gas) SSD applications
- place electronic copies of the application and all supporting information on the department’s major projects website.
We may place an advertisement in a state-wide and local newspaper.
You can make an online submission about an SSD application during the public exhibition period via the relevant application page on the department’s major projects website.
You can also send us a written submission by post.
You can also view the state significant applications currently on public exhibition.
When we assess SSD applications, we consider:
- existing strategic plans and policies (including state, regional and local)
- feedback and comments from the relevant local council(s)
- specialised and technical input and advice received from federal and state government agencies
- public submissions received during the exhibition
- the public interest
Our assessment and recommendation are set out in our environmental assessment report. The recommendation (including either conditions of consent or reasons for refusal) is referred to the minister or delegate for determination.
An applicant can apply to the Minister for Planning to modify an SSD approval. Requests must be lodged with us for assessment. The modification request will be appropriately notified/exhibited depending on the scale of the proposed modification and the potential for environmental or social impacts.
Applicant's appeal rights
An applicant can lodge an appeal against a determination with the NSW Land and Environment Court within 6 months of the decision (or within 6 months of lodgement of a modification application).
Objector's appeal rights
Objectors can only lodge an appeal against the merits of an SSD determination when the development would otherwise have been designated development. The appeal must be made within 28 days of the notification of the decision.
Anyone can appeal the legal validity of a decision if they consider that there has been a breach of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 in determining the application. The appeal must be made within 3 months of the decision being notified.
Further information can be found at State-significant precincts.
Review of decision
Under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, an applicant of a SSD project may request a review of decision or determination. The review can be either an internal review by the department, or we can refer the review to the Independent Planning Commission.
Further information can be found in the Review of Decision for SSD and SSD Modifications – Fact sheet (PDF, 267 KB).
The State significant development (SSD) indicative standard conditions are currently under review.
Indicative standard conditions are intended to help applicants, the community and other stakeholders, councils and government agencies understand the types of administrative, reporting and compliance conditions that are likely to apply to SSD applications.
While the indicative standard conditions are under review, applicants and stakeholders may wish to view recently determined SSD conditions of consent to see what likely conditions may be applied for various development types. Use the NSW Planning Portal to view recently determined SSD conditions of consent.
The department has released a Guideline for drafting conditions for State significant projects 2023 (PDF, 824 KB) that outlines the best-practice approach to drafting conditions of consent for SSD applications and conditions of approval.
The Guideline for drafting conditions for State significant projects 2023 (PDF, 824 KB) outlines the department’s best-practice approach to drafting conditions of consent for SSD applications when the department recommends a project for approval.
The guideline provides information for applicants, stakeholders and the community, and sets out:
- the roles and responsibilities that the department, other regulatory agencies and the Independent Planning Commission have when preparing and enforcing conditions.
- the purpose of conditions.
- a framework for drafting effective conditions.
The department is committed to drafting conditions that stakeholders can understand. This guideline aims to make conditions more consistent and give applicants, the community and regulatory agencies greater certainty.