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Planning Panels

About Planning Panels

Planning Panels were introduced in NSW on 1 July 2009 to strengthen decision making on regionally significant development applications (DAs) and certain other planning matters.
The Planning Panels are independent bodies. Determinations made by the Planning Panels are not subject to the direction of the Minister for Planning.

In the Greater Sydney Region, a Sydney Planning Panel operates for each district:

  • Sydney Eastern City,
  • Sydney Central City,
  • Sydney Western City,
  • Sydney North and
  • Sydney South

Regional Planning Panels operate in the following four regions of the State:

  • Hunter and Central Coast,
  • Southern,
  • Northern and
  • Western.

The Planning Panels

  • determine regionally significant development applications (DAs), certain other DAs and s4.55(2) and s4.56 modification applications
  • act as the Planning Proposal Authority (PPA) when directed
  • undertake rezoning reviews
  • provide advice on other planning and development matters when requested
  • determine site compatibility certificates under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004.

Development applications

The Planning Panels determine regionally significant development applications (DAs), certain other DAs and s4.55(2) and s4.56 modification applications.

  • Regional development, as outlined in Schedule 7 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011 
  • development with a capital investment value (CIV)* over $30 million

Development with a CIV* over $5 million which is:

  • council related
  • lodged by or on behalf of the Crown (State of NSW)
  • private infrastructure and community facilities
  • eco-tourist facilities
  • extractive industries, waste facilities and marinas that are designated development,
  • certain coastal subdivisions
  • development with a CIV* between $10 million and $30 million which is referred to the Planning Panel by the applicant after 120 days.

*     Capital investment value (CIV) is calculated at the time of lodgement of the DA for the purpose of determining whether an application should go to a Planning Panel - refer to Planning Circular PS 10-008.

Developments which meet State Significant Development criteria are not determined by the Sydney and Regional Planning Panels.

It is the responsibility of the relevant local council to carry out a proper and professional assessment of a proposal for a Panel’s determination of a relevant DA. This will include the public exhibition of the application and assessment of submissions received.

Public meetings are held for contentious matters with significant community interest so the panel can hear from those who wish to express their views on the DA before a decision is made. 

Pilot program to reduce assessment times

The NSW Government has begun a pilot program to help 13 selected councils across the state make faster assessments of regionally significant development applications.

The $4.5 million program will allow the councils to appoint and upskill staff, improve technology, develop guidelines and engage Planning Panels earlier in the assessment process.

Each of the councils has been allocated $350,000 each to help get the complex projects up and running more quickly.

The injection of resources will enable the councils to bring better outcomes for the community and get shovels in the ground sooner to deliver new homes, vital infrastructure and create more jobs.

If the pilot proves successful, we will look to roll out the lessons learned across the rest of the state.

The 13 Councils were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Historically high volume of regionally significant development applications;
  • Increasing number of new regionally significant development applications over the past 12 months;
  • Ability to contribute to overall regionally significant development applications assessment times; and
  • Opportunities to improve assessment timeframes.

The councils involved in the pilot are:

Bayside Council 

Hornsby Shire Council 

Sutherland Shire Council 

Campbelltown City Council 

Liverpool City Council 

Willoughby City Council

City of Canterbury-Bankstown 

Randwick City Council

Newcastle City Council 

Cumberland Council 

The Hills Shire Council

Central Coast Council

Lake Macquarie City Council



Rezoning Reviews

The Planning Panels may undertake independent reviews of some Council and Department of Planning, Industry and Environment decisions in the plan making process. By providing an opportunity for an independent body to give advice on LEPs, the review processes allow Councils and proponents to have decisions about the strategic merits of proposed amendments reconsidered.

A request for a rezoning review can be submitted by a proponent where Council:

  • has notified the proponent that the request to prepare a planning proposal is not supported, or
  • has not indicated its support 90 days after the proponent submitted a request accompanied by the required information, or
  • has failed to submit a planning proposal for a Gateway determination within a reasonable time after the council has indicated its support.

The review and determination should be in accordance with the Planning Circular PS 18-012 (or as updated).

The Planning Panel will determine whether the planning proposal should proceed, or not proceed, for a Gateway determination.  The Panel’s decision will be based on the strategic and site specific merits of a proposal.

The Panel will only review the planning proposal initially considered by Council, rather than any amended or updated version.

Further detail on the rezoning review process can be found in the Department’s A Guide to Preparing Local Environmental Plans.

Search for rezoning reviews

Coastal Protection Works

State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011, (Schedule 7, clause 8A), declares certain development for the purposes of coastal protection works to be 'regionally significant development' for which the consent authority is a Sydney district or regional planning Panel.

Where a Planning Panel is to determine a DA for coastal protection works the chair and the council nominated members will remain on the panel, however the State members will be replaced by members appointed by the Minister for Planning who have expertise in coastal engineering or coastal geomorphology (see clause 8A, Schedule 7 of the SRD SEPP).

The regional planning panel or Sydney district planning panel exercise development consent functions for applications for coastal protection works by private landowners and public authorities where the works are not exempted by clause 19(2) of the Coastal Management SEPP. The regional planning panel or Sydney district planning panel may continue to have consent authority functions such as modification to development consents it previously granted, even if the works are subsequently identified in a certified CMP. 

For further information about coastal protection works,  click here

For information about the members with coastal expertise who will join planning panels when they are considering coastal protection works, click here.

Site Compatibility Certificates

The Planning Panels are responsible for issuing SCCs.

Written applications for SCCs will continue to be lodged with the Department which will prepare an assessment report and recommendation for the relevant panel. Following consideration of the application and report and having regard to those matters set out at clause 25 of the SEPP, the panel may determine the application by issuing a certificate or refusing to do so.

Should a development application supported by a SCC issued by a panel subsequently come before the panel for determination, the panel will be comprised of different members to the members that issued the SCC.

Search for SCCs

Planning Proposal Authority

The Planning Panels can act as the Planning Proposal Authority (PPA) for the purpose of preparing a local environmental plan (LEP) when directed to do so.

Community consultation

When a Planning Panel has been appointed as the PPA for the preparation of a LEP, the planning proposal is exhibited in accordance with the Gateway determination.

The Planning Panel will assess the planning proposal and all public submissions before making a recommendation to the Minister and as part of this process a public meeting may be held.

See the planning proposals on exhibition and planning proposals currently registered with the Planning Panels.

More information

For matters relating to the Planning Panels please contact the Planning Panels Secretariat on:

Phone: (02) 8217 2060 Or email: [email protected]


The Department provides assistance to the planning panels in managing complaints.

Further information on the Department's complaint management process can be found here.

Dissatisfaction with determinations of the planning panels will not be regarded as a complaint.

Complaints will be recorded in the Department’s Complaints Register and will be allocated to the appropriate level for investigation and response. 

If you are not satisfied with a response, you can ask for the issue to be considered by a more senior officer.

Code of conduct complaints will be dealt with under the Planning Panels Code of Conduct. The NSW Ombudsman can also accept complaints.

At any time, a customer can complain to external bodies such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Ombudsman, or the Audit Office of NSW. 

If you have allegations of corrupt conduct, misconduct, or serious waste of resources, you are encouraged to approach these organisations directly.

Complaints about council, councillors or council staff should be directed to the relevant council.

Planning Panels:

  • The Northern Regional Planning Panel was created in July 2009, it was originally known as the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel
  • The Southern Regional Planning Panel was created in July 2009, it was originally known as the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel
  • The Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel was created in July 2009, it was originally known as the Hunter and Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel
  • The Western Regional Planning Panel was created in September 2009, it was originally known as the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel
  • The Sydney East Joint Regional Planning Panel was created in July 2009 and ceased in November 2016
  • The Sydney West Joint Regional Planning Panel was created in July 2009 and ceased in November 2016
  • The Sydney North Planning Panel was created in November 2016
  • The Sydney South Planning Panel was created in November 2016
  • The Sydney Central City Planning Panel was created in November 2016, it was originally known as the Sydney West Central Planning Panel
  • The Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel was created in November 2016, it was originally known as the Sydney Central Planning Panel
  • The Sydney Western City Planning Panel was created in September 2017 by merging the Sydney West and Sydney South West Planning Panels which were created in November 2016