Posted on May 16, 2011 by

Part 3A development transitional arrangements

Major Development Amendment SEPP

State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Development) 2005 was amended on 13 May 2011 to:

  • remove certain categories of development which the SEPP declares as a major project and are therefore subject to assessment under Part 3A of the EPA Act; and
  • specify transitional arrangements for the assessment of existing declared projects in those categories.

The categories that have been removed

The SEPP will no longer apply to:

  • development for the purpose of residential, commercial or retail projects with a capital investment of more than $100 million; and
  • development within the coastal zone for certain kinds of subdivision.

In practice, and contrary to some reporting, joint regional planning panels (rather than councils) will deal with the development to which the SEPP no longer applies.

Transitional arrangements

The following arrangements apply to the development formerly subject to Part 3A assessment in accordance with the SEPP:

  • any part of a project for which the Director General’s environmental assessment requirements (DGRs) were issued or accepted on or before 8 April 2011 will continue to be assessed under Part 3A;
  • the declaration of all other development removed from the SEPP as a project is revoked; and
  • such projects which are already the subject of a concept plan approval can be carried out with development consent under Part 4 of the EPA Act subject to the concept plan approval and any development standards contained within it.

The Minister has also announced that:

  • the Department will establish a team to assist local councils with the assessment of the former projects;
  • any fees paid by proponents for the assessment of these projects under Part 3A will be refunded;
  • all applications for other project types (such as mining, chemical and manufacturing, agricultural and significant infrastructure proposals) which are already in the Part 3A system will continue to be assessed and determined under Part 3A pending its legislative repeal;
  • the existing moratorium on the declaration of new Part 3A projects will continue; and
  • new projects that require urgent assessment may, in the interim, be authorised by the Director-General for lodgement with the local council as long as the council is willing and has the capacity to assess the application in a timely manner.

Explanatory documents

A number of explanatory documents have also been released today which assist councils, proponents and the community in understanding the changes. These include a:

  • planning circular;
  • fact sheet setting out the projects being removed from the Part 3A system;
  • fact sheet setting out arrangements for the projects remaining under the Part 3A system pending its repeal;
  • ‘frequently asked questions’ document;
  • list of residential, retail, commercial and coastal projects to be removed from the Part 3A system; and
  • list of residential, retail, commercial and coastal projects remaining under the Part 3A system.

These explanatory documents can be accessed at the Department of Planning & Infrastructure’s website: