Posted on July 7, 2020 by Elaine Yeo and Megan Hawley

Amendments to the EPA Regulation- NSW Planning Portal

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Planning Portal) Regulation 2020 commenced on 1 July 2020 and introduced some important changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. 

The amendments require the use of the NSW planning portal as the central platform for the making of development applications. Furthermore, owners’ consent for the lodgement of a development application will no longer need to be in writing.

These amendments make further provision of the use of the NSW planning portal. Since April, certain notices and other documents could be published on the NSW planning portal instead of in a local newspaper.

Applications to be lodged on the NSW planning portal

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act), the ‘NSW planning portal’ means the website with the URL www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au

The amendments will now require the following applications to be lodged on the NSW planning portal, rather than being delivered to the consent authority:

  • development applications (clause 50(1)),
  • applications to modify a development consent under s4.55 and 4.56 of the EPA Act (modification applications) (clause 115(1A)),
  • applications for the review of a determination under s8.3 of the EPA Act (clause 123G),
  • applications for certificates under Part 6 of the EPA Act:
    • complying development certificates (clause 126(1)),
    • construction certificates (clause 139(1)),
    • subdivision works certificates (clause 148A(1))
    • occupation certificates (clause 149(1)), and
    • subdivision certificates (clause 157(1)).

Following the lodgement of the above applications, the NSW planning portal then becomes the means by which requests are made and information is exchanged in the application process. Clause 295 now makes clear that the relevant authority may provide or request documents by means of the NSW Planning portal.

In relation to development applications in particular, the following processes are now conducted through the NSW planning portal:

  • requests for additional information from the applicant by the consent authority (clause 54(2)(a)),
  • notification to the consent authority by the applicant that additional information will not be provided (clause 54(5)),
  • variations or amendments lodged by an applicant (clause 55(1)),
  • withdrawal of development applications by the applicant (clause 52(1)),
  • public exhibition of extracts of development applications (clause 56(2)), and
  • publication of notices of determination of a development application  (clause 102(1)).

Owner’s consent

Consent from the land owner still needs to be provided for lodging development applications and modification applications, if the application is not made by the owner.

However, the amendments are now such that when the application is made by a person other than the owner:

  • owner’s consent for lodgment of a development application does not need to be in writing (clause 49(4A)), and
  • an owner’s signature is not needed on a statement that the owner gives consent to the making of a modification application (clause 115(1)(h)).

Other changes

Other changes include:

  • a consent authority is no longer required to register a development application with a distinctive number and give written notice of receipt of the development application (omission of previous clause 50(3)), but the applicant does need to be notified by means of the NSW planning portal that the development application has been lodged (clause 50(8)),
  • applications to extend a development consent for a further 1 year under s4.54 of the Act, do not need to be in writing (omission of clause 114(a)),
  • clause 116 has been deleted, that clause provided that a copy of an application to modify a development consent granted by the Court is not to be lodged with the Court, but with the relevant consent authority.

Transitional Provisions

The amendments commenced on 1 July 2020. However, councils will have some time to transition their processes. Councils may continue to require certain applications, including development applications, modification applications and applications for subdivision and construction certificates, to be made as if the amendments had not been made (see clause 296). For councils in local government areas specified in the clause, they can do so until 31 December 2020. Other councils may do so until 1 July 2021.

To view the amendments, click here.

If you have any questions regarding this article please contact Megan Hawley on 02 8235 9703, or Elaine Yeo on 02 8235 9712.