Changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW)

On the 23rd of November 2017, NSW Parliament approved changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act with the Amendment Bill 2017 awaiting proclamation.

The reforms will address:

  • Local Strategic Planning Statements - New Planning proposals must take into account Council's local strategic planning priorities and targets;
  • Community Participation Plans - Planning Authorities will be required to prepare CPPs on how they will engage the community in relevant planning decisions in relation to the Act's new community participation principles;
  • Standardizing Development Control Plans - a standardized format and structure will be released for DCPs;
  • Facilitate the enforcement of Complying Development requirements;
  • New tools to combat breaches of the Act;
  • Concurrent advice for Part 5 Development - Public authorities will be required to consult with other authorities before commencing work in infrastructure corridors.

The current structure of the EP&A Act will be restructured from 8 parts into 10, resulting in the reordering of existing sections. These amendments will see the largest number of changes to the Act implemented since the Bill was passed in 1979.

With most changes to commence on 1st of March 2018, a staged approach will be used to introduce the changes, due to the amount of large amendments to the Act. Majority of the changes will be in placed by the end of 2018 with the last amendment to occur in 2020.

Overall, the changes extend the powers of consent authorities and impose additional obligations on them for community participation and strategic planning. The expansion is likely to impact developers by increasing the cost of development and compliance, as the provisions within the Act are tightened.

For more information regarding the new changes, visit the NSW Department of Planning and Environment via the link below