Posted on May 25, 2017 by

An Overview of the Proposed ePlanning Regulation

The Draft Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (ePlanning) Regulation 2017 is currently under consideration by the Minister for Planning and Environment.

The Draft Regulation represents an attempt to streamline the development application process by introducing standard documents and providing a single point for the online lodgement of a DA. As part of this, however, there are several specific proposals that could have important implications for local councils.

Owner’s Consent

Perhaps most significantly, the Draft Regulation provides that a Development Application no longer requires the signature of the owner of the land to which the application relates. Instead, the Developer merely needs to include a statement that the Developer has obtained all necessary consents.

Although a Developer will likely commit an offence if they knowingly include a false statement as to consent, the real implication of this proposed change is the additional costs that will accrue to Council. Councils will be obliged to notify the land owner of the application. Furthermore, in order to be satisfied of owner’s consent,  a Council will likely need to request evidence that consent was given, further drawing out the development assessment process.

Standard application forms

Tied to this, the Regulation requires development applications be lodged in accordance with new forms to be authorised by the Secretary. These forms will apply to all local government areas across New South Wales. This seemingly innocuous change, however, carries with it more far-reaching implications. 

The Regulation, if made in its current form, will require a development application to be accompanied by the information and documents specified in the new application forms. The required content of the documents is specified in the attached Secretary’s Requirements for Submission. Considerable detail is given on the required content for:

  1. drawings and plans,
  2. Statements of Environmental Effects,
  3. Environmental Impact Statements, and
  4. reports required to be attached to an application, from acoustic reports through to traffic and transport assessments.

This is significant because of a further proposed amendment. Clause 51(b) of the existing regulation is to be amended to provide that, if an application does not contain all of the required information or is not accompanied by all of the required documents specified in the authorised form, a consent authority may reject the application within 14 days.

Given the authorised form is far more prescriptive as to the information that is required to be included in the documents, it could be suggested that this will give local councils a broader power to reject a development application for insufficient information.

Applications for complying development certificates are also required to be made in the approved form on the NSW Planning Portal, or by application to the consent authority. The amendments do not say the application can be made directly to a certifier.

Notification of Development Control Plans and s94 Contributions Plans

Alongside the push towards an online application process, the proposed regulations will require a draft s94 Contributions Plan and Development Control Plan (‘DCP‘) to be exhibited on the NSW planning portal for a minimum of 28 days.

The planning portal also assumes centre stage when a final plan is published. A Contributions Plan or DCP will only enter into force once it has been published on the planning portal.

Next steps

The reforms are a key part of the proposed overhaul to the planning law, which we have discussed previously. The Minister is currently considering the Draft Regulation, along with the proposed reforms to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Keep an eye on our infocus blogs for updates on the making of the proposed changes, as well as other proposals like reforms to the Advertising and Signage SEPP.

If you wish to discuss any of the proposed changes, please contact Megan Hawley, Partner on 8235 9703 or by email at