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Planning Panels

Pilot Program for Councils

The Pilot Program seeks to support local government to improve and reduce the assessment and determination timeframes

Pilot program to reduce assessment times

The NSW Government has implemented a pilot program to help local councils to make faster assessments of regionally significant development applications, with the aim of reducing average assessment timeframes from 366 days to 275 days. 

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

As part of the program Planning Panels worked together with local councils during 2020/2021 to enable determination of 398 regionally significant DAs and in doing so removed 112 DAs that had been in the system for over 500 days and 28 that had been in the system for over 1000 days.

20 local councils were selected as part of the pilot program and provided a $350,000 grant to trial approaches to assist in reducing timeframes.

  • The 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.
  • Opportunities to improve assessment timeframes.

Results of the first year of the pilot are currently being analysed, however early results have shown that the first 46 regionally significant development applications determined under the pilot program had an average assessment time of just 189 days.

Following evaluation of the program, the Department will look to roll out the lessons learned across the rest of the state.

The councils involved in phase 1 of 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

The councils involved in phase 2 the pilot are:

  • Blacktown Council     
  • Camden Council    
  • Waverley Council
  • Burwood Council     
  • Georges River Council    
  • City of Parramatta     
  • North Sydney Council