Simplified policies to drive planning reform

Transparency and certainty lie at the heart of the NSW Government’s plan to simplify the state’s planning policies announced today.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said by consolidating State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and introducing a set of people-focused principles, the entire planning system will be reoriented to become simpler and easier to understand.

“The community is often bewildered by the planning system and how it delivers on the Government’s priorities. By taking a principle-led approach, we are setting clear expectations for what we want the planning system to achieve over the long term,” Mr Stokes said.

“We have been working hard to unblock the system, reduce assessment times and slash red tape and the reforms announced today will underpin a whole new approach to planning that is accessible to the people of NSW to drive decades of lasting change.

“By putting people first, the changes will clarify the process for the community and industry to create opportunities for more homes, jobs and public space.”

The changes today:

  • Introduce nine planning principles to guide the planning system, creating clear strategic approaches to delivering housing, jobs, infrastructure and good design;
  • Consolidate 45 existing SEPPs into 11 aligned with the planning principles to bring together controls and set a roadmap for ongoing planning reform; and
  • Simplify and rationalise other policy including Ministerial directions and planning circulars to align with the planning principles.

“Our work to deliver the Housing SEPP and Design and Place SEPP is already reflecting this principle-led approach to simplify planning controls and to allow sustainable development to flourish,” Mr Stokes said.

“Whether it’s speeding up approvals, reducing zones, or cutting through bureaucratic log jams, we’ve worked to build a simpler, more efficient planning system. Today’s reforms stand by our commitment to support business, create jobs and deliver more public benefits”.

Reforms will come into effect from 1 March 2022 to allow time for stakeholders to become familiar with the new framework.

/Public Release. View in full here.