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Planning controls

Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan

The Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan (CPCP) was finalised with NSW approval in place in August 2022 and Commonwealth approval in place in March 2024.  

Implementation of biodiversity and development commitments

There are 5 planning controls that support the implementation of biodiversity and development commitments of the CPCP. The planning controls apply to land identified as:

  • avoided land
  • certified-urban capable land, or
  • land in a strategic conservation area.

The 5 planning controls are listed below.

Strategic Conservation Planning chapter of SEPP (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021 includes Chapter 13 Strategic Conservation Planning (‘Strategic Conservation Planning 2022’), which sets out the planning controls to achieve the development and biodiversity outcomes of the CPCP.

The objectives are to:

  • ensure development in the nominated areas is consistent with the biodiversity certification under Part 8 of the Biodiversity and Conservation Act (BC Act), and strategic assessment under Part 10 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
  • facilitate appropriate development on biodiversity certified areas.
  • protect areas with high biodiversity value, regionally significant biodiversity that can support ecological function and areas with important connectivity or ecological restoration potential.
  • avoid or minimise impacts from future development on biodiversity values in areas with high biodiversity value.
  • support the acquisition of priority areas with high biodiversity value as conservation lands in perpetuity.
Section 9.1 Ministerial Direction (Strategic Conservation Planning)

The ministerial direction 3.6 (PDF, 520 KB) aims to protect land with high biodiversity value from the impacts of development. It requires a planning proposal to demonstrate that it protects or enhances biodiversity. This includes native vegetation, threatened ecological communities, koala habitat and corridors and matters of national environmental significance within the avoided lands or strategic conservation areas.

It also prevents rezoning of avoided land or the strategic conservation area to urban development zones.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Avoided Land) Regulation 2022

The amendment to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 includes notification and reporting requirements for Part 4 development and Part 5 activities under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) on avoided land.

This amendment:

  • supports the CPCP’s infrastructure policy, where certain essential infrastructure activities can access the strategic assessment approval under Part 10 of the EPBC Act
  • supports the CPCP’s commitment to annual reporting to the regulators of adverse impacts to matters of national environmental significance.
Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan Guidelines for Infrastructure Development

The Guidelines for Infrastructure Development aim to ensure infrastructure development and activities are consistent with the CPCP’s commitments and actions, and maintain outcomes consistent with the Strategic Conservation Planning 2022. They identify when and how essential infrastructure is covered by the CPCP’s strategic assessment approval under Part 10 of the EPBC Act.

The guidelines also set out the requirements to avoid, minimise and mitigate impacts on biodiversity from infrastructure activities carried out under Part 5 of the EP&A Act on land identified as avoided land, strategic conservation area and certified – urban capable land.

Consistency statement

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Avoided Land) Regulation 2022 requires a development application for essential infrastructure to be accompanied by a statement demonstrating consistency with the Guidelines for Infrastructure Development.

A Consistency statement form is available for proponents to use.

Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan Mitigation Measures Guideline

The Mitigation Measures Guidelines apply to Part 4 development carried out on certified-urban capable land within the Greater Macarthur Growth Area and Greater Penrith to Eastern Creek Investigation Area. They also apply to development on certified-major transport corridors under the CPCP.

The guidelines set out the mitigation requirements that the identified development must address to ensure consistency with the CPCP’s biodiversity approvals. Mitigation measures relate to koalas and threatened ecological communities and species.

Strategic conservation area review

The strategic conservation area (SCA) is land within the CPCP area that has been identified as having important biodiversity value. This includes areas with large remnants of regionally significant native vegetation that can support a thriving environment and improve connectivity across the landscape. SCA land can also be restored to improve regional biodiversity and will be used to identify potential conservation lands for further investigation.

The department is undertaking a review of the strategic conservation area to ensure that the SCA continues to represent areas with the greatest strategic biodiversity values to deliver long-term conservation outcomes in the Cumberland sub region.

In June 2024 we made minor changes to remove the strategic conservation area mapping from a small number of lots where the existing zoning of land is not consistent with long term biodiversity outcomes. An explanation of intended effect (EIE) outlining the proposed changes was on public exhibition from 14 August until 13 September 2023. The department may make further changes to SCA map to ensure that it aligns with the outcomes of the proposed CPCP modification process.

Frequently asked questions

For more information about the planning controls and measures to support the CPCP’s implementation pathway, see our frequently asked questions:

For any enquiries, email the team at [email protected] or phone 02 9585 6060 (between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday).

For translating and interpreting services, phone 13 14 50 and ask for an interpreter in your language to connect you to 02 9585 6060. When connected ask to speak to the Cumberland Plain Conservation team.