State Significant Infrastructure
Some types of infrastructure are deemed to have State significance due to the size, economic value or potential impacts that it may have.
Infrastructure that is State Significant is identified in the State and Regional Development State Environmental Planning Policy..
Types of State significant infrastructure
State significant infrastructure (SSI) includes major transport and services development that have a wider significance and impact than on just the local area.
The Government has identified certain types of development that are SSI, for example:
- Rail infrastructure,
- Road infrastructure,
- Water storage and treatment plants,
- Wharf and boating facilities,
- Pipelines, and
- Certain development in National Parks.
A development proposal for any of the identified development types is SSI if it:
- is over a certain size,
- is located in a sensitive environmental area, or
- would exceed a specific capital investment value.
The full list of SSI development types can be viewed in Schedules 3 and 4 to the State and Regional Development State Environmental Planning Policy.
To find out more about SSI, view the Department's SSI Fact Sheet.
Critical State significant infrastructure
The Minister for Planning can deem that a State significant infrastructure project is essential for the State for economic, environmental or social reasons. These applications are known as critical State significant infrastructure. Critical State significant infrastructure proposals are determined by the Minister.
The Department has prepared standard Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for critical State significant infrastructure projects in consultation with other government agencies.
The objectives of the Standard SEARs are to:
- achieve a better outcome by focusing the environmental impact statement on those issues that:
- cause the greatest impact,
- affect the most sensitive aspects of the environment, and
- are of greatest interest or concern to the community.
- provide Proponents, with certainty about the majority of SEARs they can expect to be issued for Critical State significant infrastructure projects.
How to lodge a State significant infrastructure application
Once you have determined that your proposal is SSI, you can lodge your application online with the Department.
How can I find out about a State significant infrastructure application?
All SSI applications are listed online. The application and all supporting information are available to view online. The website's tracking system identifies what stage a project is up to in the assessment process.
The Department's assessment report and the application determination (including conditions of consent or reasons for refusal) are also made available to view online.
Who determines State significant infrastructure applications?
The Minister for Planning is the consent authority for SSI applications. SSI applications are assessed by the Department of Planning and Environment. In some cases, the Minister may delegate the decision making function to Department staff.
Will I be consulted about State significant infrastructure near me?
All SSI applications are publicly exhibited for a minimum 30 days (longer if the exhibition overlaps with school holidays).
During the public exhibition period for SSI applications, the Department will:
- notify surrounding residents in writing (council is consulted on the area of notification which will vary depending on the scope of the proposal),
- place an advertisement in a State wide newspaper,
- place electronic copies of the application and all supporting information available on the NSW Planning Portal, and
- make hard copies of the application and all supporting information available at the relevant council's office and the Department's main office (23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney 2000).
How can I comment on a State significant infrastructure application?
You can make an online submission about an SSI application during the public exhibition period via the relevant application page on the NSW Planning Portal.
You can also send any written submission to the Department by post.
View State significant infrastructure applications currently on public exhibition.
How is State significant infrastructure assessed?
SSI applications are assessed by the Department of Planning and Environment. The Department considers the following when assessing SSI applications:
- existing strategic plans and policies (including State, regional and local),
- feedback and comments from the relevant council(s),
- specialised and technical input and advice received from Federal and State government agencies,
- public submissions received during the exhibition, and
- the public interest.
The Department's assessment and recommendation are set out in the Department's Environmental Assessment Report. The recommendation (including either conditions of consent or reasons for refusal) is referred to the Minister, or his delegate for determination.
More information about the assessment processes for SSIs is included in the Department's Planning Circular.
Examples of Government agencies consulted by the Department:
- Commonwealth Agencies - Department of Environment, Department of Defense,
- Environmental Protection Authority,
- Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure Services,
- Office of Environment and Heritage,
- Roads and Maritime Services,
- Transport NSW, or
- Department of Education and Communities.
Can a State significant infrastructure approval be modified?
An applicant can apply to the Minister for Planning to modify an SSI approval. Requests must be lodged with the Department of Planning and Environment for assessment. The modification request will be appropriately notified / exhibited depending on the scale of the proposed modification and the potential for environmental or social impacts.
Can the decision of the consent authority be appealed?
Applicant Appeal Rights
There is no provision for merit appeals by applicants against SSI determinations.
Objectors Appeal Rights
There is no provision for merit appeals by objectors against SSI determinations.
Anyone can appeal the legal validity of a decision if they consider that there has been a breach of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 in making the decision. The appeal must be made within 3 months of the decision being notified.
Third party appeal rights are not available in relation to critical State significant infrastructure.
Further information can be found in the Development Assessment Appeal Rights Fact Sheet.
Standard and Model Conditions
The Department has prepared sets of standard and model conditions to help infrastructure providers understand the types of conditions likely to be applied to State significant projects if they are approved.
By providing these sets, the Department aims to:
- provide standard definitions and approaches to issues common to a particular industry,
- reduce duplication and inconsistency, and
- simplify compliance requirements for approved development.
In developing the conditions, the Department has considered feedback from industry, councils and other government agencies.
The conditions are based on sample determinations and cover the following sectors: