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Planning Approval Pathways

Local Development

Local development is the most common type of development in NSW and needs development approval.

What is local development?

Local development is the most common type of development in NSW and needs approval via a development application. Projects range from home extensions to medium-sized commercial, retail and industrial development.

A development is considered a local development if:
• a local environment plan (LEP) or State environmental planning policy (SEPP) states that development consent is required before development can take place and;
• a development is not considered to be Regionally or State Significant Development.

What are Local Environment Plans (LEPs)?

LEPs guide planning decisions for local government areas across NSW through development and zoning controls. LEPs outline what landowners can or cannot do with their land, including guidelines for building height or what a building is zoned for (housing, industry or recreation). LEPs are determined by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A).

What is a State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP)?

SEPPs guide state-wide land use, including urban and regional development. They contain legal frameworks for planning provisions, which are designed to expedite planning and development processes. The Department of Planning and Environment regularly review SEPPs to ensure they are up-to-date, effective and simple.


What is Local Development?

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

The procedures for applying for development consent, the level of environmental assessment required, the notification required, and appeal rights will differ depending on how a development is categorised. These categories include designated development, integrated development and advertised development.

How to apply online

  1. Register for a NSW Planning Portal account to start your application.
  2. Log in to complete the online application form. You will need to submit Statement of environmental effects, Owner's consent and a Cost estimate report. You may be required to submit further documents to support your development application 

Contact the relevant consent authority, this is usually the local council, to discuss supporting document requirements before applying for a development application.

Start your Development Application Track a Development Application

Other Resources


Telecommunications in new developments

If you are a developer or owner-builder, there are important Commonwealth telecommunications rules you need to comply with.

View more information 

Your guide to the DA process

Building a new house or renovating your property is always exciting. However, the Development Application process can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming. That’s why we’ve developed ‘Your guide to the Development Application process – Small housing development’, so the pathway to building your home can be faster and easier.

View your guide

We have prepared a list of the documents and drawings that should accompany applications for development.

The Best Practice Guide for Councils

The guide draws on successful practices used by councils that assist in the timely determination of development applications. It was developed in close collaboration with many high growth local councils and draws on their proven processes and procedures.

Since the guide was released, the Department has met with 37 councils across regional and metropolitan NSW to discuss their development assessment processes. Many councils site the guide as a useful resource and benchmarking tool. 

View the Best Practice Guide

Bushfire recovery

Many people in NSW lost their homes or businesses in the recent devastating bushfires across the state.

The NSW Government is continuing to make changes to planning rules to make it easier for people to recover and rebuild after these bushfires.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is continuing to work with councils, communities and state agencies on what else is needed to support the recovery and rebuilding effort.

More information is available on the Department’s website.

View information

Portal fees

In accordance with the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021, applicants are required to pay a digital application processing fee for certain planning applications and certificates.

A full list of fees can be found on the NSW Planning Portal Service Fees page.

More information

If you need assistance using the Online development application service, please view our quick reference guides or contact ServiceNSW on 1300 305 695 for additional support.

Last updated: 17/07/2023