NSW Planning Reforms – Draft Amendments now on Exhibition

Background to Review of EP&A Act 

In 2012/13, the State Government underwent an extensive review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). This included a Green Paper in 2012, a White Paper in 2013 followed by a Planning Bill 2013 – Exposure Draft presented to Parliament. The Bill failed to become legislation partly due to sustained community objection to a number of reforms, including the proposed introduction of what was called “code assessable development”.

A review in 2016 revisited areas for reform that had community and stakeholder support but not areas that were significantly objected to.

Key amendments

The Department of Planning and Environment have listed the following as key proposed amendments:

  • enhancing community participation:  establishing a new part of the Act that consolidates community consultation provisions, and requiring decision-makers to give reasons for their decisions
  • completing the strategic planning framework: through local strategic planning statements, up to date Local Environment Plans and more consistent and workable Development Control Plans
  • development pathways: improvements to the various development pathways and preventing the misuse of modifications
  • State significant development: through better environmental impact assessment and more effective conditions of consent
  • clearer building provisions: simplified and consolidated building provisions, allowing conditions on construction certificates and ensuring consistency with development approvals
  • elevating the role of design: through a new design object in the act, and a Design-Led Planning Strategy
  • improving enforcement: with the introduction of enforceable undertakings in compliance actions.

Draft Amendments Have been Released for Public Comment

The Department have now placed draft amendments to the EP&A Act on exhibition. The public consultation period for the Bill is from 10 January 2017 to 31 March 2017.

The consultation package comprises four documents:

  1. Summary of proposals
  2. Bill guide
  3. Draft Bill
  4. Stakeholder feedback

Submissions will be accepted by mail or via an online form.

For information and updates, refer to the Department of Planning and Environment Website. 

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