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Planning - Current Issues


Jane Partridge 
Strategy Manager 

Phone: 02 9242 4093 

Linda Blinkhorn 
Senior Policy Officer, Planning 

Phone: 02 9242 4094 

Vanessa Burow 
Senior Policy Officer, Planning 

Phone: 02 9242 4025 


In 2020, changes to the NSW planning system were made in response to COVID-19. These included legislative changes allowing the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces to make orders enabling certain development to be carried out without normal planning approval for the duration of the pandemic. The NSW Government has commenced a review of the measures. The review will consider the public benefit of the temporary measures, and assess which measures, if any, should be taken forward, and to what extent.

The Planning System Acceleration Program was also part of the response. It includes a program for councils to accelerate assessment of development to support local and regional economies to recover from the pandemic.

More information is available on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.

LGNSW has regular meetings with the Department of Planning Industry and Environment to help shape planning system responses to COVID-19. Contact us for further information.

New class of appeals – Land and Environment Court

The Department of Planning Industry and Environment’s Planning Reform Action Plan includes a proposal to introduce a new class of appeals for planning proposals. DPIE is consulting on the proposed approach. Councils have concerns about the proposal and LGNSW has raised these with the NSW Government. Contact us for further information.

Infrastructure Contributions Reform

The NSW Productivity Commissioner completed a review of the infrastructure contributions system in NSW in November 2020.
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Employment Zones Reform

The NSW government has announced it will reform employment zones across NSW. This reform is being led by the Department of Planning Industry and Environment and will involve a comprehensive reform of existing industrial and business zones. Councils will be consulted in the first half of 2021. Further information is available here.

State Significant Projects – Rapid Assessment Framework

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is proposing changes to the assessment process for major projects (state significant developments and infrastructure). The proposals include new guidelines for environmental assessments and documentation and an accreditation scheme for environmental assessment practitioners. Further information is available here.

NSW Housing Strategy Discussion Paper

The NSW Government is preparing a 20-year Housing Strategy for NSW.
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Design and Building Practitioners Act - Draft Regulations

The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 requires the registration of practitioners involved in design and building work and new obligations on practitioners to declare compliance with the Building Code of Australia.
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Short-Term Rental Accommodation

The NSW Government is developing a new regulatory framework for Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA). The framework includes a state-wide planning framework, changes to strata legislation and a mandatory Code of Conduct.
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Proposed Housing Diversity SEPP

The NSW Government exhibited an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for a proposed Housing Diversity SEPP for comment until 9 September 2020.
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