Frequently Asked Questions

The ePlanning program aims to improve access to the NSW planning system, making it more transparent and easier to use. ePlanning is transforming the traditional paper-based and face-to-face interactions to an online environment where people can access planning services and information from anywhere at any time.

In 2018, the program is delivering a new online lodgement service for complying development applications, and an online system to facilitate state agency advice and approval of local development applications, where required. We are also working to digitise Environmental Planning Instruments, including Local Environmental Plans, and develop a standard development control plan for use by councils.

Click on the Contact Us button in the Help section.

You will then be directed to the Contact Us page that contains telephone and email details, as well as help for the hearing or speech impaired, and translator and interpreter services.


The Planning Portal has been developed to address the needs of NSW councils and industry professionals such as architects, builders, planners, certifiers and developers. NSW residents can also use the service.


The Planning Portal and its service components are maintained by the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE).


The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) ensures new and upgraded homes across the state produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and reduce water consumption. This is achieved by setting energy and water reduction targets for all new dwellings. 

Further information on BASIX can be found on the BASIX page


BASIX certificates are mandatory for:

  • new dwellings
  • alterations and additions of $50,000 or more
  • swimming pools of 40,000 litres or more.

A BASIX Certificate forms part of the documentation you submit to your consent authority, either your local council or a Private Certifier, when applying for a development and/or complying development application.


The BASIX assessment targets three key areas:

  • water
  • thermal comfort
  • energy

You will be asked a series of questions about your project - such as the floor area, construction materials, and the type of hot water system being installed. In each of the three key areas, you will need to meet a pre-determined target to secure your BASIX certificate. These requirements will depend on the building materials, building services and style of house under construction.

Help notes and hints are available in the BASIX tool to help you make appropriate design and building selections to meet the targets.


Yes. You will need to create a free account before you can use the tool. Register for an account by clicking the Register link on the BASIX homepage


The BASIX report contains similar information to the BASIX certificate. However, the BASIX certificate is the legal document.

There is no fee payable to obtain the BASIX report but it is for information purposes only. It is a useful document to show to your builder, client or architect to see whether intended commitments are suitable before committing to the final certificate.


The BASIX tool categorises projects for assessment into three distinct residential building types:

  • single dwelling
  • multi-dwelling
  • alterations and additions

More information on dwelling types can be found in the dwelling types help notes.

If you are unsure which BASIX residential building type applies to your project, you may need to show your building plans to the council or Private Certifying Authority (PCA).


The maximum fee payable for a BASIX certificate depends on the type of development. To assist in estimating the fee payable, a fee calculator is available for download .

The table below outlines the different fees:

Type of development Maximum fee
Single dwelling $50

$80 (for first two dwellings)

$35 (for each dwelling more than two dwellings)

Residential flat building Variable - depends on number of units
Alteration and additions $25 for each dwelling


If you are unable to complete the building works as outlined in your BASIX certificate, you will need to revise the certificate.

Please note: Amendments made to a BASIX certificate may affect your ability to achieve the mandatory targets and therefore generate a revised certificate. It is advisable to always revise your certificate before going ahead with any building works that are not consistent with the original certificate to ensure it still meets targets.


If you wish to become an accredited Sustainability Assessor, contact either the Australian Association of Sustainability Assessors, or the Building Designers Association of Victoria

They will advise you on how to become accredited in the use of sustainability rating tools and software.


Environmental Planning Instruments (or EPI) refer to Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) and State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs). Generally, these documents are the mechanism by which the State Government and local governments:

  • manage the relationship between development and the environment
  • control development through development standards
  • reserve land for specific purposes
  • protect the environment and ecosystems
  • control certain other activities

In terms of development standards, EPIs detail the range of land use zones and development standards and use maps to show which controls apply where. Development standards can also be referred to as “planning controls”.

Local Environmental Plans (LEP) guide planning decisions for local government areas and are the main Planning tool to shape the future of communities and ensure local development is done appropriately.


A State Environmental Planning Policy is a legal instrument made by the Governor for planning matters that are of State or regional significance.


A standard instrument is a specific standardised structure for LEPs and some SEPPs. A standardised structure brings consistency across the state and makes interpreting LEPs and SEPPs easier.


Regional development is development that is notified and assessed by a local council and then determined by relevant Joint Regional Planning Panel (regional panel). Generally, it is development with a capital investment value of more than $20 million or DAs where council is the applicant over $5 million. Also includes larger coastal subdivisions and eco-tourist facilities. Regional development is defined in Schedule 4A of the EP&A Act.


Many home renovations and minor building projects don't require planning approval. This is called exempt development. If the building project meets specific standards and land requirements, no planning or building approval is needed.


Larger straightforward residential, commercial and industrial developments may qualify for a simpler approval process called complying development. Providing the application meets specific standards then it can be determined by a council or accredited certifier without a full development application.


Local development is the most common type of development in NSW, with projects ranging from home extensions to medium sized commercial, retail and industrial developments.

A development is considered local development if a local environmental plan (LEP) or State environmental planning policy (SEPP) states that development consent is required before development can take place.


Some developments are deemed to have State significant due to their size, economic value or potential impacts. Major development proposals including mines and manufacturing plants as well as warehousing, waste, energy, tourist, education and hospital facilities are State significant developments (SSD) if they:

  • are over a certain size
  • are in a sensitive environmental area
  • exceed a certain capital investment.

Some projects may also be considered SSD because they are in precincts regarded as important by the NSW Government, including Sydney Olympic Park, Redfern-Waterloo and Barangaroo.

State significant development (SSD) is identified in the State and Regional Development SEPP.


State significant infrastructure (SSI) includes major transport and services development that have a wider significance and impact than on just the local area.

The Government has identified certain types of development that are SSI. A development proposal for any of the identified development types is SSI if:

  • it is over a certain size
  • it is in a sensitive environmental area
  • it exceeds a specific capital investment.


Not all development needs consent from a local council. This includes some low impact or routine activities such as home businesses in a residential zone, environmental protection works in an environmental conservation zone, and in a public recreation zone.

The local environmental plan and/or State environmental policies that apply to the area or activity will list all developments that are permitted without consent. Even though these activities do not require council approval they may require some other form of approval.


Designated fishing activities include commercial fishing activities relating to methods and locations including:

  • fishing in share management fisheries such as abalone, lobster, ocean trawling and hauling, ocean trap and line and estuary prawn trawling
  • fish stocking
  • shark meshing
  • harvesting marine vegetation. 

Before a designated fishing activity can be undertaken approval is needed from the Minister for Fisheries. If you wish to undertake a designated fishing activity, you will need to prepare a draft fishery management plan (which includes assessment of cumulative environmental impacts) and an environmental impact statement.


Terms and conditions

This document sets out the terms and conditions of use for the NSW planning portal.


  1. General Conditions
  2. Disclaimer
  3. Planning information, maps and spatial datasets
  4. Privacy Statement
  5. Copyright
  6. Feedback

1.0 General Conditions

About the NSW planning portal

The NSW Planning Portal is an initiative of the New South Wales Government and has been designed to provide public access to a range of planning services and information including documents or other information in the NSW planning database established under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the EP&A Act).

The NSW planning database is an electronic repository of spatial datasets or other maps that are adopted or incorporated by way of reference by environmental planning instruments, plans or other documents or information relating to the administration of the EP&A Act that are required to be published on the NSW Planning Portal by the regulations or by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment (the Secretary).

The NSW planning database is to be compiled and maintained as determined by the Secretary. The Secretary may certify the form of such documents or other information on the NSW Planning Portal is correct. At this stage, no content on the NSW Planning Portal has been certified by the Secretary.

Access and use of the NSW planning portal

The NSW Government grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable licence to access and use the NSW Planning Portal in accordance with these terms and conditions of use.

Agreement to these terms and conditions of use

These terms and conditions of use (as amended from time-to-time) govern the use of the NSW Planning Portal. By clicking the 'I Agree' button you understand and agree to these terms and conditions of use.

New or revised terms and conditions of use

The Department may change these terms and conditions of use at any time, and may do so without giving you any prior notice.

Internet charges

You are responsible for any internet connection fees that You incur.

Service availability

It is impossible for the Department to ensure that the services are provided to you at all times or at any specific times or will be able to operate at all times error-free. The provision of services is influenced by availability of related computer systems. The NSW Government makes no warranties in regard to the availability of services but all reasonable efforts will be made to provide the best possible service to you. Notices regarding planned system outages will be made available on the NSW Planning Portal's home page.

Governing law

Your access to and use of the NSW planning portal is governed by the law of New South Wales and the Commonwealth and you agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts in that State and the Commonwealth.

2.0 Disclaimer

The NSW Government will be in no way liable for any loss, damage or injury arising as a result of your use or reliance on the NSW planning portal, nor will it be liable for any indirect or consequential punitive or special damages or loss of profit.

The NSW Government will be in no way liable for any loss, damage or injury arising as a result of, or in part by, its negligent acts or omissions in procuring, compiling, collecting, interpreting, reporting, communicating or delivering any information through the NSW Planning Portal.

Links to other websites

Links have been provided on the NSW Planning Portal in line with the Department of Planning and Environment's desire to promote a free exchange of information. The Department does not necessarily endorse or support the views, opinions, standards or information that appear at the linked sites or in material authored by third parties and published on the NSW Planning Portal. You should be aware that the providers of linked sites will often have their own protocols and standards in relation to their sites and the information which appears on them. We urge you to familiarise yourself with any such protocols and standards. Similarly, you should also not interpret the absence of a link to any other site as a criticism or comment by the Department on the provider of content of that other site.

You should bear in mind that some of the material that appears on the linked sites may possibly cause offence or upset to some people. The Department regrets, but cannot take responsibility for, any such offence or upset caused.

In the event that you are offended or upset by the material which appears on this site and/or any linked site, you are entitled to lodge a complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) who will then investigate the complaint and take such action as it thinks fit. If you would like to know more about the ACMA's role in regulating Australian internet content, you can visit its website at .

3.0 Planning information, maps and spatial datasets

Until such time as content on the NSW Planning Portal is certified, the documents and information available on the NSW Planning Portal should be treated as being for reference only and you should exercise your own skill and care with respect to the use of the material.

Spatial datasets

The map viewer on the NSW Planning Portal provides access to spatial datasets for certain planning maps incorporated by reference in environmental planning instruments made under the EP&A Act. PDF versions of the official maps adopted when the instruments are made are available from a map link index from the relevant environmental planning instrument on the NSW legislation website.

The spatial datasets on the NSW Planning Portal are updated as new PDF maps are published. You should be aware that there may be delays between when the official PDF maps are published on the NSW legislation website and when the spatial datasets are updated on the NSW Planning Portal.

The Department of Planning and Environment tries to update the spatial datasets within 2 weeks of any changes to the official PDF maps.

The NSW Planning Portal only shows the current In Force spatial datasets. Historical versions of the maps are available from a map link index from the relevant environmental planning instrument on the NSW legislation website.

The spatial datasets for certain State environmental planning policies has been derived from the wording of the text of the instrument.

Copies of development control plans and contributions plans

The NSW Planning Portal provides public access to copies of development control plans and contributions plans. Councils are required to provide copies of development control plans to the Secretary within 28 days of making the plan. Councils are also required to provide the Minister with a copy of a contributions plan, as soon as practicable after it is approved by the council.

The Department tries to update the development control plans and the contributions plans within 2 weeks of receiving copies of the plans from councils.

4.0 Privacy statement

Personal information

The NSW planning portal is provided and maintained by the Department of Planning and Environment. The Department is subject to the requirements of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (the PPIP Act). Under that Act You have a right to access and change personal information that we hold. For further information please see the Department's privacy statement.

Site Visit Data

To help the Department improve its website and provide better services to its users, the Department makes a record of your visit and logs the following information:

  • the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the machine which has accessed it;
  • Your top-level domain name (for example .com, .gov, .au, .uk etc.);
  • the date and time of your visit to the site;
  • the pages visited; and
  • cookies are used on the NSW Planning Portal to collect and store information.

Exceptions to the Rule

The Department will not collect, use and disclose personal information other than stated as above except for the purpose of investigating:

  • unauthorised attempts to access files that are not published on the NSW Planning Portal;
  • unauthorised tampering or interference with files published on the NSW Planning Portal;
  • unauthorised attempts to index the contents of the NSW Planning Portal by other sites;
  • attempts to intercept messages or any data of other users of the NSW Planning Portal;
  • communications which are defamatory, abusive, vilify individuals or groups or which give rise to a suspicion that an offence is being committed;
  • attempts to otherwise compromise the security of the web server, breach the laws of the State of New South Wales or Commonwealth of Australia, or interfere with the enjoyment of the NSW planning portal by other users; and
  • any other circumstances permitted under the PPIP Act.

Consistent with the NSW Government's Open Data Policy the Department of Planning and Environment encourages the availability, dissemination and exchange of public information. Unless otherwise stated, material on the NSW planning portal where copyright vests in the Crown in right of the State of NSW is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License.

Attribution should be: 'NSW Crown Copyright – Department of Planning and Environment'

The licence does not apply to:

  • Any material authored by third parties and published on the on the NSW planning portal.
  • Any material hosted on a different site.
  • The State arms or any emblem, symbol or trademark used by any agency of the State of NSW (except where such material is reproduced as an incidental part of using material under the general licence and otherwise in compliance with these terms and conditions of use).

To obtain permission to use copyright material other than as permitted by the Creative Commons Attribution Licence please contact:

Director, Community & Stakeholder Engagement Branch
Department of Planning and Environment
GPO Box 39 Sydney New South Wales 2001

Fax: (02) 9228 6555


You may publish the material to another website, however if you publish an entire document or publication, we prefer you to make a direct link to the NSW planning portal to ensure that the latest version is always displayed.

6.0 Feedback

Help make the NSW Planning Portal even better by letting the Department know of any quality and usability issues you encounter by clicking the 'Feedback' button and sending through a response.

We may also request additional feedback from You through email, web questionnaires or other feedback mechanisms. By agreeing to these terms and conditions of use, You agree that We may contact You from time to time about the services provided through the portal.