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Under Consideration

Proposed Natural Disasters Clause


The Department sought your feedback on a proposed clause for the Standard Instrument LEP that will support better and quicker rebuilds of dwellings following natural disasters.

Over the 2019-20 Australian summer, natural disasters such as bushfires and floods impacted thousands of homes across NSW. Many people affected by these natural disasters are now seeking planning approvals to enable them to rebuild or repair their homes.

The Department is working with local councils to help communities recover after natural disasters and future-proof our planning system. To support the rebuild and repair of dwellings following a natural disaster, the Department has prepared an optional provision for inclusion in the Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order.

A new clause for rebuilding and recovery

The Department sought your feedback on the proposed clause which clarifies development consent can be granted for the purposes of repairing or replacing a dwelling impacted by a natural disaster.

The clause clarifies that despite any other provisions in the relevant Local Environmental Plan (LEP), approval to repair or rebuild a dwelling, including a secondary dwelling, can be granted if the original lawful dwelling was destroyed or damaged in a natural disaster. A merit assessment is still required, however the rebuild or repair cannot be refused based on any development standards in the Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

An amending State Environmental Planning Policy will be made to expedite the inclusion of this provision in participating LEPs, saving councils the time and resources required to progress individual planning proposals.

The clause will also become an optional provision in the Standard Instrument LEP Order. This means that councils who do not wish to express an interest in incorporating the clause into their LEP at this stage can progress their own planning proposal should they choose to incorporate the clause into their LEP at a later date.

Expressions of interests (EOI) have now closed for councils wanting to participate in the implementation stage.

Next steps

We have distributed the finalised clause to those councils who have lodged an EOI and requested:

  • Formal confirmation to have the clause inserted into your LEP; and
  • Nomination of relevant LEP(s) and the zones where the proposed clause will apply.

Only councils that have submitted an EOI have been contacted.

Councils will have until 15 February 2021 to formally opt-in from the date of distribution of the final clause. Only councils who formally opt-in will be included in the amending SEPP.

The department has prepared the final clause and associated guidance materials to assist with implementation of the clause, which have been distributed to participating councils.


Project Details

Notification start-end date
Relevant legislation
Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979
Exhibiting agency or agencies
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
Exhibition location

NSW Planning Portal