Posted on November 17, 2016 by Sue Puckeridge

Sydney Planning Panels – Active as of Next Week

Six new Sydney Planning Panels (Planning Panels) will commence operation on 21 November 2016.  This will coincide with the expected public exhibition of the draft District Plans by the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC).  These developments are key steps in the GSC achieving its strategic planning objectives for Sydney’s future.  This article contains a brief description of the new Planning Panels and how they will function.

Planning Panel Functions

The Planning Panels are statutory bodies created under section 18 of the Greater Sydney Commission Act 2015 (GSC Act), with all the functions of a Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) (clause 4(1) Greater Sydney Commission Regulation 2016).  They replace the existing Sydney East JRPP and Sydney West JRPP (s18(6) GSC Act).  The remaining JRPPs continue to operate.

The Planning Panels will take on a development consent role for regionally significant developments with a capital investment value of more than $20 million.

They will also be able to undertake pre-gateway (rezoning) reviews when council has refused consent to a planning proposal or failed to consider it within 90 days.

A key objective in replacing 2 JRPPs with 6 Planning Panels is to improve the timeframes for the determination of development applications and pre-gateway (rezoning) reviews. The aim is to increase the number of determinations by at least 10 per cent within a year and to process 85% of pre-gateway (rezoning) reviews within 90 days.

Planning Panel Areas

The areas for which each of the six Planning Panels will be responsible reflect the district boundaries set out in the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Greater Sydney Regions Order) made on 19 October 2016 and are as follows:

  • Central District,
  • West Central District,
  • West District,
  • North District,
  • South West District,
  • South District.

The changes do not affect the City of Sydney. The Central Sydney Planning Committee will continue to operate as normal and pre-gateway (rezoning) reviews for the City of Sydney will continue to be undertaken by the Planning and Assessment Commission.

Panel Membership

Each Planning Panel will be made up of 5 members, chaired by the relevant District Commissioner.  The other four members will be:

  • two representatives from local councils; and
  • two members appointed by the NSW Government.

As with JRPPs the council appointed representatives will change depending on the local government area affected by the proposal.

Transitional Provisions

Any development application or pre-gateway (rezoning) reviews that were lodged with a JRPP but has not been determined by 21 November 2016 will be determined by the relevant Sydney Planning Panel.

If a JRPP has been appointed as the relevant planning authority for a rezoning prior to 21 November 2016 that function will transition to the relevant Sydney Planning Panel.

Planning Panel Meetings

Proposed meeting dates for the new Planning Panels can currently be found on the JRPP website. Although the membership of the Planning Panels will be different to that of the JRPPs which they replace, the administration of the Planning Panels will not change.  The current JRPP secretariat will continue to be responsible for the administration of the 6 Planning Panels and will remain within the Department of Planning.  There will be no change to the contact persons for developments which are currently before a JRPP.

For more information, please contact Sue Puckeridge, Partner on 8235 9702 or