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SSD process

A guide to agency engagement

Engaging with NSW Government agencies to prepare an EIS.

Streamlining major project assessment

The department is building a faster, simpler and clearer planning system to make things happen in NSW.

As part of this, industry-specific Secretary’s environmental assessment requirements (SEARs) have been introduced to improve clarity, consistency and certainty of what is required to prepare an environmental impact statement for the most common types of State significant development (SSD).  Projects that do not meet the criteria for industry-specific SEARS need to submit a request for project-specific SEARS.

The SEARs require applicants to engage with key government agencies when preparing the environmental impact statement (EIS). This gives agencies the opportunity to provide guidance and assist with resolving issues early in the process, resulting in a faster and more streamlined assessment process.

Which agencies do I need to engage with?

For industry-specific SEARs, the applicant is responsible for identifying which government agencies they should consult during preparation of the EIS. These should include agencies that:

  • are relevant to the project
  • you need to, or would otherwise have needed to seek an approval from as per section 4.41 and 4.42 of the EP&A Act

For help identifying which agencies you need to engage with, please contact the department‘s assessment team.

For project-specific SEARs, the department will advise which agencies applicants should engage with during preparation of the EIS.

General agency engagement advice

All agency engagement should follow the Undertaking Engagement Guidelines for State Significant Projects.

Applicants should start consulting with agencies at least six weeks before submitting an EIS. This will allow enough time for feedback to be considered and any additional follow up engagement.

Prior to contacting an agency, applicants should have:

  • reviewed the SEARs for the project and any other published guidance
  • engaged relevant consultants
  • prepared a scope of works for the project, including preliminary documentation (for example, site survey or architectural drawings)
  • identified relevant impacts and the methodology for their assessment
  • formed key questions to guide discussions.

Agency directory 

Contact details for key government agencies.

Please contact the department’s assessment team for details of agencies not listed.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

Heritage NSW

Department of Primary Industries


[email protected]


[email protected]

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS)

NSW Subsidence Advisory

Water NSW

DPIE Water and NSW Department of Natural Resources Access Regulator