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The ePlanning program

The ePlanning Program is an initiative of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Its primary purpose is to drive the digital transformation of the NSW planning system.

By building the NSW Planning Portal, the ePlanning Program is providing an online environment where people can access planning services and information from anywhere at any time. This is a convenient alternative to paper-based transactions that can only take place during business hours.

The ePlanning Program is focussed on delivering key digital services as part of its commitment to create an end-to-end digital planning service for NSW. It is streamlining and enhancing existing processes in order to improve the planning experience for all stakeholders: community, industry, councils and State government.

ePlanning for the future. "We believe the way to accelerate digital transformation is through sharing lessons and leveraging the expertise of our colleagues". View the case study.

The NSW Planning Portal

The NSW Planning Portal is an online environment where community, industry and government can work together to better understand and meet their obligations under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

It hosts a range of digital planning services, mapping tools and reporting tools to assist everyone involved in a proposed development. The digital services, accessed via dashboards, improve application determination times, increase transparency of the planning system and ensure greater accountability of all stakeholders.

Set up under the Act, the NSW Planning Portal is also the legal repository for certain planning documents, such as Ministerial Orders.

The ePlanning Program is currently working with all NSW councils to encourage greater engagement with the services on the NSW Planning Portal.

The ePlanning Spatial viewer 

The Department is developing a new Spatial Viewer, which was released on the NSW Planning Portal in May 2019. The new Spatial Viewer is an enhanced digital mapping service that provides easy-to-use, information-rich maps for every address and lot in NSW.

If you want planning details on a particular property, simply type in the address. Each digital map contains multiple layers outlining all the planning controls relevant to that site. This includes Environmental Planning Instruments (EPI), such as State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP) and Local Environmental Plans (LEP). It can also show Development Control Plans (DCP) and Contribution Plans (CP) relevant to the local government area surrounding a particular site. There is an option to download the property report, which provides the key details and development controls for a site, as a PDF as well.

The new Spatial Viewer will provide a variety of base maps to improve your understanding of a particular area, including street maps and satellite maps. Ease of navigation is a priority: you will have the tools to search on map measurements, zoom in and out easily and alter the opacity.

Links to relevant legislation are provided to ensure your planning decisions are based on the most accurate information.

The new Spatial viewer will provide an improved user experience for all visitors to the NSW Planning Portal.

Visit the new Spatial Viewer here.

Application Lodgement and Tracking 

The ePlanning Program has digitised the following core processes within the planning system:

Registered users gain access to a digital dashboard which helps them manage their case load as well as progress individual applications through the system. Applicants can submit a DA online and councils can review the DA and request and receive additional documents before making a determination. For those DA that require State agency advice, councils can now make the request through its dashboard. State agencies can review the DA and provide their response online.

These new services immediately address long-held concerns about the NSW planning system in regards to determination times, transparency of processes and accountability. Legislated time frames have been built into the system to keep applications moving through each stage. All parties to a proposed development can track the progress of an application and they receive automatic notification emails at each stage of the process as well.

The ePlanning Program is committed to developing an end-to-end digital planning service. It is digitising workflows for other aspects of the DA process, such as Regional Planning Panels, Special Infrastructure Contributions and State Voluntary Planning Agreements.

Open Data

The Department values transparency and encourages ease of access to information on the NSW planning system. The NSW Planning Portal’s Open Data section provides links to a broad range of planning data. From Environmental Planning Instruments, such as State Environmental Planning Polices, to Local Development Performance Monitors, there is a wealth of information available in a variety of formats that is easy to search and download.

Key datasets are stored with supporting documents. Simply type in the relevant keyword you are searching for and the appropriate dataset will be provided.

LDPM (Local Development Performance Monitoring)

LDPM for 2016/17 and 2017/18 will be released in 2019 on the Planning Portal using a dashboard reporting service.

The dashboard will allow end-users to view and dynamically query the composition and distribution of local development metrics across individual or multiple councils.  

Providing a descriptive and retrospective analysis of the LDPM data the dashboard is a straight forward user experience helping end-users become more analytical in their thinking.

Users can also access previous LDPM data which outlines the performance of the NSW Planning system and information on local and regional developments determined by councils through our Open Data portal.

Access the LDPM Dashboard here. You can also search LDPM on our Open Data page.

 

Integration

The Council API will facilitate synchronised workflows and exchange of data / information between DA online and council systems. It will remove any manual data entry enabling automated ingestion between the digital application form and the council system. The automated handling of information will enable a seamless flow of data between systems, which will minimise data errors and provide applicants with digital status updates.

Sydney and Regional Planning Panels

Planning Panels are independent bodies which were introduced in NSW to strengthen decision-making on regionally significant development applications and other planning matters.

The ePlanning Program has developed a new digital workflow and website for Sydney and Regional Planning Panels. Councils and the community now have access to the latest information where a Planning Panel is involved in a development application.

The new site allows users to keep up-to-date and view public meetings happening within their local government areas, as well as search for developments via the new application register.

Enhancing the current process enables councils to communicate better with their local community and will help deliver information about decisions made under the planning system.

Special Infrastructure Contributions (SIC)

The Department has released a new digital workflow and website to facilitate Special Infrastructure Contributions (SIC). This will help coordinate delivery of key pieces of State and regional infrastructure required to support a growing population.

The new digital workflow will enhance user experience and help fund developments, such as State and regional roads, transport facilities including bus shelters and interchanges, and social infrastructure, such as schools, healthcare and emergency services.

Users will have access to a digital dashboard which helps them manage their SIC case load as well as progress individual applications through the system.

State Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPA)

A voluntary planning agreement (VPA) is an agreement entered into by a planning authority, such as the State Government, and a developer. Under the agreement a developer may agree to provide or fund public amenities and public services, affordable housing, and/or transport infrastructure.

The Department has released a new look VPA register and simplified work digital flow to help better deliver information to the public on State VPAs.

The new digital system will allow VPAs to be entered into by a planning authority, such as the Department, and will allow developers and relevant parties to come to an agreement, resulting in faster approval times.

The system will also help facilitate contributions made through the dedication of land, monetary contributions and construction of infrastructure.

Construction certificates

Once you have received a development application approval, you will need a construction certificate (CC). This can be obtained from your council or an accredited certifier. The CC will include detailed building plans/engineering details and specifications.

Currently, applicants request construction certificates through the council certifiers, or from an accredited private certifier or certifying organisation using a range of paper forms.

Applicants will now be able to submit an application for a construction certificate to the certifier through the NSW Planning Portal. Applicants and certifiers have access to digital dashboards which helps them manage and keep track of applications.

The ePlanning program aims to digitally transform the way applicants and developers obtain certificates through the NSW Planning Portal to speed up processes, provide transparency and information across the planning system.

Principal Certifying Authority appointment

Once an applicant has secured an approval (via DA and CC or via CDC) they are required to appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) to oversee the construction.

The system allows the PCA to schedule inspections via the system and utilises a mobile device integration to enable recording of the various inspections.

Once all the inspections have been adequately completed, the PCA will be able to indicate to applicants that the development is approaching completion and they will be able to submit an application for an occupation certificate through the NSW Planning Portal.

Occupation Certificate

An occupation certificate (OC) authorises the occupation and use of a new building or building section following all mandatory building inspections. They are issued by council certifiers, or accredited private certifier or certifying organisations, and applications are generally made in paper formats.

Once the development has successfully passed all the required inspections, the applicants will be able to submit an application for an occupation certificate through the NSW Planning Portal. This integrated system will pass through the known development details into the new application, which will minimise the need to fill in additional forms.

The system will retain a copy of the information relied upon to certify the development enabling better understanding of the property’s construction methodology and maintenance requirements into the future.

Subdivision Certificate

A subdivision certificate certifies that the plan of subdivision has been completed in accordance with the relevant development consent or complying development certificate.

Currently, applicants request subdivision certificates through the council certifiers, or from an accredited private certifier or certifying organisation.

Applicants will be able to submit an application for a subdivision certificate to the certifier of their choice through the NSW Planning Portal. Applicants and certifiers have access to digital dashboards which helps them manage and keep track of applications.

SEPP 70 Affordable Housing Revised Schemes

The ePlanning Program is currently in the design phase to digitise Affordable Housing Revised Schemes (SEPP 70). The Scheme identifies the need for affordable housing in NSW and was expanded in February 2019 to apply to all local government areas in NSW.

The Policy provides a mechanism by which a council may investigate and develop an affordable housing contribution scheme and levy contributions from developers for affordable housing in the local area. Affordable housing contribution schemes are council-led documents which set out how, where, and at what rate development contributions can be collected by councils for affordable housing.

Variation to development Standards

Where a proposal does not comply with the development standards contained in the relevant Local Environmental Plan, such as height and floor space ratio, a council may consider a variation to the development standard.

The ePlanning Program has made enchantments to the development application system to include variations to development standards. The system will allow applicants to apply for variations on their development application to councils where a proposal does not comply with the development standards.

ePlanning has also digitised the current reporting process where councils submit variations to the Department. Councils can now use the new Online Submission System to upload and inform the Department of variations each quarter

Interactive House

ePlanning is currently in the design phase of Interactive House which is an initiative to allow users to define whether they need approval on developments and renovations such as building a shed, retaining walls, pools and solar panels.

The tool will allow users to select a development type and provide users with relevant planning information about a property and guide them through the approval process.

 

 

The ePlanning road map

The ePlanning road map shows users a timeline of our accomplishments and goals to deliver better information and digital online services to NSW residents.

ePlanning

NSW Planning Portal report

We have made it easier for you to view all NSW Planning Portal statistics to see how many applications have been lodged through our report.

NSW PP Report

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Keep up to date with the latest news and announcements from the ePlanning team.

Contact BASIX

What is ePlanning?

Simon Officer, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, explains how ePlanning is streamlining the NSW planning system.