Posted on December 3, 2021 by Megan Hawley

Consolidation of SEPPs and Minister’s Planning Principles

On 2 December 2021, the NSW Government (Government) published 11 new thematic State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) as part of a consolidation process to simplify the State’s planning policies. All 11 consolidated SEPPs will commence on 1 March 2022.

From 1 March 2022, the existing 45 SEPPs will be consolidated into the following 11 SEPPs (links provided):

The consolidated SEPPs transfer current SEPPs into chapters of the consolidated SEPPs. This consolidation does not, however, introduce any amendment to the existing SEPPs other than renumbering and changes consequent on the consolidation. Some savings provisions are not to be transported across to the new consolidated SEPPs.

The consolidated SEPPs are aligned to the Minister’s Planning Principles (Planning Principles) (see here) also released by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces (Minister) on the same day.

The Planning Principles are grouped into the following nine key themes to guide planning and development in New South Wales:

  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.

The Planning Principles are stated to apply through the existing statutory scheme under Part 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (EPA Act). The Planning Principles state that planning authorities consider the principles through preparation of plans made at the regional, district and local scales, through the preparation of local environmental plans, and the preparation of SEPPs and other planning guidelines.

However, there is currently no proposed Ministerial Direction under s9.1 of the EPA Act or proposed amendment to the EPA Act to specifically require the Planning Principles to be taken into account by planning authorities when preparing planning instruments, policies and guidelines.

If you have any comments or questions about this blog post, please leave a comment below or contact Megan Hawley on 02 8235 9703.