The Minister for Planning, The Hon. Pru Goward, has announced proposed changes to how state significant development (SSD) proposals are processed. In an effort to reduce the current lengthy delays, the NSW Government has made a commitment to cut the average time that it takes to process SSD applications (including mines) by up to 170 days. The reduction in processing time for SSD applications will be achieved through the introduction of:
- clear timeframes for certain assessment processes
- clearer guidance to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) on the application of government policies, and
- the appointment of case managers to manage planning applications.
The Minister also proposes to establish a panel of independent experts to advise the NSW Government and the PAC on technical issues. The timeframes are not enshrined in law and the proposed changes do not include deemed approval provisions, so it remains to be seen whether the reforms will result in a significant reduction in processing times for SSD applications.