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Fast-tracked assessments

On 28 April 2020, the NSW Government announced a new Planning System Acceleration Program – to redirect resources within the department to accelerate the assessment and determination of projects that inject investment into the NSW economy and keep people in jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The usual planning rules and policies apply, with all projects under the program assessed under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Fast-tracked projects

Six tranches of projects were announced between April and October 2020, with the accelerated determination of 101 major projects and planning proposals.

The projects are expected to provide:

  • 50,000 jobs
  • 25,000 dwellings
  • $25 billion in economic value
  • 400 hectares of open space.

Fast-tracked projects

Six tranches of projects were announced between April and October 2020, with the accelerated determination of 101 major projects and planning proposals.

The following lists provide detailed information on all determined projects:

Program and process

The program includes projects that require State planning approval such as State Significant Developments, State Significant Infrastructure, major projects, and planning proposals.

Projects must be in the system, be able to demonstrate public benefit through new public open spaces or affordable housing, demonstrate an ability to create jobs both during construction and once complete, and able to commence construction within six months if it’s a DA, or proceed to the DA phase within six months if it’s a rezoning.

This includes commercial projects that drive employment as well as public projects that deliver critical public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, rail upgrades, housing and public space.  

Fast-tracked assessment process explained

Flowchart for Acceleration Program fast tracked assessments projects.
Project selection

Specific criteria were created to identify and progress projects for a fast-tracked assessment.

The criteria were informed by government, industry and community stakeholders.

The criteria were also reviewed by an independent probity advisor and the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The three essential criteria:

  • Jobs – does the project create jobs during construction and ongoing?
  • Timing
    - can a decision on the project be made quickly?
    - for DAs, can the project commence within six months?
    - for planning proposals, can the project proceed to DA within six months?
  • Public benefit – can the project deliver or support public benefits (e.g affordable housing or new public space and parklands)?

Read the Priority Projects Criteria (PDF, 520 KB) and the measures of construction and job impacts from fast-tracked projects methodology paper (PDF, 109 KB)

  • Projects, that are already in the system, are nominated to go through a fast-tracked assessment process.
  • Nominated projects are assessed against the fast-tracked criteria. If a project meets the criteria, it proceeds to be included in an accelerated tranche. If a project does not meet the criteria, it will continue to progress through standard assessment processes.
  • Projects are announced in tranches, and are determined within 4 weeks of the tranche being announced.
  • Accelerated projects are determined, outcome announced and the assessment report published at Major Projects.

An independent probity advisor was appointed to ensure a robust and transparent prioritisation process.

Coordination is occurring across all key State Government agencies, as well as within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and a new Planning Delivery Unit has been created ensure to streamline agency approvals and ensure any inter-agency road-blocks are identified and mitigated.

The Department redirected resource to ensure determination of all projects identified for fast-tracked assessment within 4 weeks.

All projects are considered in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and subject to the same level of rigorous assessment and opportunity for consultation as at any other time.

Due to the need to meet requirements under Public Health Orders, a range of digital engagement tools will be used to communicate with the community and stakeholders to seek any comment or feedback.

For more information, you can read the NSW Audit Office report (July 2021) which examines the effectiveness of the department's Fast-Tracked Assessment Program.

Stakeholders with further questions can contact us at [email protected]