Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), projects can be declared as State significant development (SSD) if they are important to the State for economic, environmental or social reasons.
The department co-ordinates the assessment of all SSD projects under the EP&A Act which involves carrying out all relevant administrative functions, coordinating inputs from State and Commonwealth agencies and working closely with councils to ensure local and regional issues are fully considered.
Community participation is an essential part of this process, and all development applications for SSD are exhibited for at least 28 days.
The department prepares a detailed whole-of-government assessment report on the merits of an SSD project for the consent authority.
Who determines State significant development applications?
SSD projects are assessed under Division 4.7 of the EP&A Act, and require development consent from the Independent Planning Commission or the Minister for Planning (or delegate) before they may proceed.
The Independent Planning Commission is the consent authority for SSD applications if the applicant is not a public authority and:
- the local council has made a submission objecting to the application,
- the department has received 50 or more public objections in response to the exhibition of the application (petitions and submissions that contain substantially the same text count as one objection), or
- the applicant has made a reportable political donation.
The Minister is the consent authority for all other SSD applications. In some cases, the Minister may delegate his decision making function to Department staff.
State Significant Development Guidelines
The State Significant Development Guidelines provide a detailed explanation of the SSD process and set out clear expectations about the quality of environmental assessment documentation.
The EP&A Regulation requires SSD applicants to have regard to the guidelines when requesting SEARs, preparing EISs, responding to submissions, amending applications, and seeking to modify SSD consents.
For further information on the guidelines visit the NSW Planning website.