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Strategic planning

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) recognises the critical role of councils in strategic planning for their local area.

Each council prepares a local strategic planning statement (LSPS). This sets out the 20-year vision for land use in the local area, the special character and values that are to be preserved and how change will be managed into the future.

The statements carry out actions in the regional and district plans, and the council’s own priorities in the community strategic plan.

The statements shape how the development controls in the local environmental plan (LEP) evolve over time to meet the community's needs. The LEP is the main tool to deliver the council and community’s plan.

Ward councillors have a lead role in preparing and endorsing the statements to ensure they reflect local views.

What is the purpose of a local strategic planning statement?

LSPSs are succinct documents that are easy to understand. They allow community members to contribute to and understand the future direction of land use in their area.

The statement must identify the planning priorities for an area and explain how these are to be delivered. It must also show how the council will monitor and report on putting the priorities into action.

Councils may choose to develop their LSPS as a single approach for the whole council area and may choose to address matters on a theme or ward basis.

In keeping with the NSW Government's aim, the Minister for Planning issued a direction in 2018 (PDF, 106 KB) under section 3.9(3) of the EP&A Act. This allowed ward councillors to endorse the LSPS for recently amalgamated councils. This direction does not prevent any other council from basing the structure of its LSPS on wards, if appropriate.

How are the local strategic planning statements different to community strategic plans?

LSPSs focus on the vision and priorities for land use in the local area.

Community strategic plans, which are prepared under the Local Government Act 1993, have a broader focus. They consider the long-term social, environmental and economic aspirations of the community. A community strategic plan is the governing document for the council in its strategic business planning across all its activities.