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Exempt Development

Waterway structures

Minor alterations, repairs and maintenance to certain waterway structures may not need planning approval.

Minor alternations, repairs and maintenance can be carried out on certain waterway structures without planning approval. The development standards for this type of exempt development are outlined in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

Waterway structures that are exempt development must have minimal environmental impact. The following waterway works may be exempt development:

  • repairs or replacement of decking, handrails, ladders, or other non-load bearing elements
  • non-structural internal or external alterations to an existing boat shed
  • installation of emergency lighting and other equipment (such as lifebuoys) and service pedestals
  • painting and other surface treatments to protect structures from corrosion or weathering.

Depending on the type of development, approvals may be required under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 and any relevant licences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. 

Waterway structure works must be installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications, comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and be structurally adequate.

If you propose to remove or prune any existing trees or vegetation, you should contact your council first to make sure you don’t need approval for this.

For a full list of development standards that apply to waterway structures under exempt development, please refer to these State Policy provisions.

Exempt development exclusions

Exempt development cannot take place within a wilderness area or critical habitat of an endangered species, population or ecological community. 

Exempt development cannot occur on land that is, or on which there is, an item that is listed on the State Heritage Register or that is subject to an interim heritage order.

Structures located on public land or over a public road (even temporary structures) must have approval from the relevant council or Roads and Maritime Services.  

Last updated: 18/05/2023