The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) has consolidated 45 State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and deemed SEPPs to align with the focus areas under the Minister’s new Planning Principles (Planning Principles).

Snapshot

  • From 1 March 2022, the consolidation of 45 SEPPs and deemed SEPPs into 11 new thematic SEPPs commenced to align with the new Planning Principles.
  • This is primarily an administrative consolidation and there are no material policy changes under the new consolidated SEPPs.
  • The Planning Principles are designed to inform planning policy decisions in NSW under nine focus areas, rather than being a direct consideration for a consent authority when determining a development application.

Planning Principles establish clear focus areas

The Planning Principles aim to demystify the current planning system to support sustainable development and growth in NSW.

Released in December 2021, the Planning Principles seek to achieve climate resilience and sustainability through the following nine focus areas:

  1. Planning systems: A strategic and inclusive planning system for the community and the environment
  2. Design and place: Delivering well-designed places that enhance quality of life, the environment and the economy
  3. Biodiversity and conservation: Preserving, conserving and managing NSW’s natural environment and heritage
  4. Resilience and hazards: Managing risks and building resilience in the face of hazards
  5. Transport and infrastructure: Providing well-designed and located transport and infrastructure integrated with land use
  6. Housing: Delivering a sufficient supply of safe, diverse and affordable housing
  7. Industry and employment: Growing a competitive and resilient economy that is adaptive, innovative and delivers jobs
  8. Resources and energy: Promoting the sustainable use of NSW’s resources and transitioning to renewable energy
  9. Primary production: Protecting and supporting agricultural lands and opportunities for primary production

Climate change and connecting with Country are two key considerations under the Planning Principles, including encouraging the involvement of Aboriginal people in the design and delivery of planning policies that may affect them.

The Planning Principles apply through the existing framework of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), with planning authorities considering the Planning Principles through:

  • strategic and land use planning under Division 3.1 of the EP&A Act; and
  • the preparation of state and local planning policies, including SEPPs made under Division 3.3 of the EP&A Act.

The Planning Principles are designed to inform policy decisions around planning in NSW at an early stage via the above avenues, rather than being directly considered by consent authorities (e.g. local councils) when evaluating development applications.

SEPP consolidation seeks to simplify the planning framework

On 1 March 2022, DPE consolidated 45 SEPPs and deemed SEPPs into 11 new thematic SEPPs to correspond with the nine focus areas of the Planning Principles discussed above.

The table at Attachment 1 below provides an overview of the SEPP consolidation and the corresponding focus area under the Planning Principles.

Provisions of the repealed SEPPs have been carried over into the new SEPPs as ‘chapters’. DPE has confirmed that the SEPP consolidation does not materially change the effect of the repealed SEPPs due to the application of section 30A of the Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW) to the transferred provisions.

Any redundant or outdated provisions of the repealed SEPPs have not been carried over to the new consolidated SEPPs. Some administrative amendments have also been made to update references to government agencies and old legislation.

References within existing legislation and policies to the repealed SEPPs will be deemed to be references to the relevant provisions of the new consolidated SEPPs.

Further reforms to come?

Legislative updates are planned to reflect the SEPP consolidation and local councils will be required to amend planning certificates issued under section 10.7 of the EP&A Act.

It is unclear whether further substantive reform of the NSW planning framework is on the horizon and it remains to be seen whether the Minister will introduce additional changes to support the sustainable development goals under the Planning Principles.

Attachment 1

 

New SEPP Repealed SEPPs
Focus area: Planning systems
SEPP (Planning Systems) 2021

State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011

State Environmental Planning Policy (Aboriginal Land) 2019

State Environmental Planning Policy (Concurrences and Consents) 2018

SEPP (Precincts – Eastern Harbour City) 2021

 

 

State Environmental Planning Policy (State Significant Precincts) 2005

Darling Harbour Development Plan No 1

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No 26—City West

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No 16—Walsh Bay

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No 33—Cooks Cove

State Environmental Planning Policy No 47—Moore Park Showground

SEPP (Precincts – Central River City) 2021

 

 

State Environmental Planning Policy (State Significant Precincts) 2005

State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Centre) 2006

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan 24—Homebush Bay Area

State Environmental Planning Policy (Kurnell Peninsula) 1989

State Environmental Planning Policy (Urban Renewal) 2010

SEPP (Precincts – Western Parkland City) 2021

 

 

State Environmental Planning Policy (State Significant Precincts) 2005

State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Centre) 2006

State Environmental Planning Policy (Western Sydney Aerotropolis) 2020

State Environmental Planning Policy (Penrith Lakes Scheme) 1989

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No 30—St Marys State Environmental Planning Policy (Western Sydney Parklands) 2009

SEPP (Precincts – Regional) 2021

State Environmental Planning Policy (State Significant Precincts) 2005

State Environmental Planning Policy (Activation Precincts) 2020

State Environmental Planning Policy (Kosciuszko National Park—Alpine Resorts) 2007

State Environmental Planning Policy (Gosford City Centre) 2018

Focus area: Design and place
Design and Place SEPP The Design and Place SEPP is currently on exhibition and has not yet been finalised. The current draft focuses on putting “sustainability, quality, beauty and vibrancy” at the forefront of developments. The draft policy package proposes:
Focus area: Biodiversity and conservation
SEPP (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021

State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017

State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2020

State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2021

Murray River Regional Environmental Plan No 2—Riverine Land 

State Environmental Planning Policy (Bushland in Urban Areas) 2019

State Environmental Planning Policy 50 – Canal Estate Development

State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) 2011

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan 20 – Hawkesbury-Nepean River No. 2 1997

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005

Greater Metropolitan Regional Environmental Plan No 2— Georges River Catchment Willandra Lakes Regional Environmental Plan No 1— World Heritage Property

Focus area: Resilience and hazards
SEPP (Resilience and Hazards) 2021

State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018

State Environmental Planning Policy 33 – Hazardous and Offensive Development

State Environmental Planning Policy 55 – Remediation of Land

Focus area: Transport and infrastructure
SEPP (Transport and Infrastructure) 2021

State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007

State Environmental Planning Policy (Educational Establishments and Childcare Facilities) 2017

State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Infrastructure Corridors) 2020

State Environmental Planning Policy (Three Ports) 2013

Focus area: Housing
SEPP (Housing) 2021

Separate to the SEPP consolidation, the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021, which commenced on 26 November 2021, repealed five SEPPs.

You can read about this change in our previous blog post.

Focus area: Industry and employment
SEPP (Industry and Employment) 2021

State Environmental Planning Policy (Western Sydney Employment Area) 2009

State Environmental Planning Policy 64 – Advertising and Signage

Focus area: Resources and energy
SEPP (Resources and Energy) 2021

State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No. 9 – Extractive Industries (No 2 – 1995)

Focus area: Primary production
SEPP (Primary Production) 2021

State Environmental Planning Policy (Primary Production and Rural Development) 2019

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No 8 (Central Coast Plateau Areas)