NSW Government releases green paper - 14 Jul, 2012

New Planning System for NSW proposed to be introduced by November 2012

A review of the NSW planning system has taken place. This has resulted in a new planning system for NSW. The green paper was released in July 2012, which is the second last step before the implementation of the new planning system in November 2012.

The new planning system aims to remove the red tape from the development assessment process and also remove the detailed prescriptive controls. These controls will be replaced with better guidance and good practice advisory notes.

The new NSW planning system has four focuses:

  1. Community participation
  2. Strategic focus
  3. Streamlined approval
  4. Provision of infrastructure

Community participation

  • The main focus will be on better informing the community and providing them with access to information and decision making through the use of electronic planning, notification and engagement tools.

Strategic focus

There will be major changes at all levels of the planning system. The changes will include the replacement of, the State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs), the Regional Environmental Policies (REPs), the Local Environmental Plan (LEPs) and the Development Control Plans (DCPs).

  • The SEPPs will become the NSW Planning Polices which will articulate the NSW government's direction and position on major planning issues and will inform strategic plans at all levels.
  • The REPs will become Regional Growth Plans which will link with the NSW Transport Master Plan and the State Infrastructure Strategy.
  • The LEPs will become Subregional Delivery Plans which will directly deliver zoning outcomes in the Local Land Use Plans.
  • The DCPs will become Local Land Use Plans which contain new zones which will maximise flexibility, provide opportunities for investment capture, and protect suburban character in certain circumstances.

Streamlined approval

  • Complying Development will be maximised.
  • The level of assessment will match the level of impact.
  • Development Applications will be given to independent and expert decision makers.
  • Different timeframes will be set based on the type of assessment.

Provision for infrastructure

  • The delivery of major infrastructure projects will be streamlined through a new process which will involve the community early on in the process.
  • A simpler system of infrastructure contributions which will support the rapid supply of housing and improve affordability.

How will this affect you the home owner/developer?

  • Faster approval process
       > 10 Days- Code complying assessment (Accredited Certifier)
       > 25 Days- Development is partially compliant (Accredited Certifier and Council assessed variation)
       > 50 Days- Merit Assessment (Council)
  • Fairer assessment due to politics being removed from the approvals process - Community representatives will be invited onto the Regional Planning Board.
  • More transparency throughout the process.
  • Improved infrastructure.
  • Reduced complexity and costs.
  • Defined timeframes for assessments which council will be held accountable for.
  • More emphasis on merit based assessment (e.g. not as much emphasis on heights, floor space ratios etc).
  • A development can be split between code development and merit assessment. For example, if a development has an element that is not compliant with the prescriptive controls, a merit based assessment for the non-compliant element, such as a large balcony, can take place.
  • Development types that can be approved by accredited certifiers will be increased (faster approval process).

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