EP&A Bill passed by Parliament: Major overhaul for NSW Planning System

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has announced that a Bill to change the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) that will see the biggest overhaul of the NSW planning system since the legislation’s inception almost 40 years ago, has passed through Parliament.

The Department’s media release, issued on 15 November 2017, said:

The changes reflect the Government’s commitment to thriving, safe and well-designed communities with local character and heritage,” Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said…. the changes ensured a simpler, faster planning system, and will build community confidence in planning decisions and outcomes. “There is no denying that NSW is a great place to live and work, however, the best places do not just happen, they are planned, and planning for the future of our state is critical.”

The changes to the EP&A Act will overhaul the development assessment, strategic planning and compliance processes of all councils across NSW.

The supporting EP&A Regulation is also under review, with submissions sought until 24 November 2017. The review builds on proposed changes to the EP&A Act and seeks to further improve the architecture of the NSW planning system. The objectives are to undertake a comprehensive review of the Regulation in order to:

  • reduce administrative burden and increase procedural efficiency (e.g. by removing any outdated rules which make the system hard to use)
  • reduce complexity
  • establish a simpler, more modern and transparent planning system