Major Development Proposals
The Department has an important role in assessing and determining proposals for major developments in NSW, including State significant development and State significant infrastructure.
The process generally includes a consultation period, known as a public exhibition.
Proposals can be submitted to be assessed through a number of different systems depending on the proposal's classification. Learn more about the Department's development assessment systems.
Information about all proposals the Department is assessing or has determined can be found online.
State significant developments
Major development proposals, including mines, manufacturing plants, warehousing, waste, energy, tourist, education and hospital facilities are considered to be State significant development (SSD) if they:
- are over a certain size,
- are located in a sensitive environmental area, or
- exceed a certain capital investment value.
More on State significant developments.
State significant infrastructure
Major infrastructure development applications, in particular linear infrastructure such as roads, railway lines or pipes that often cross a number of council boundaries, will generally be considered as State significant infrastructure (SSI).
Development that doesn't require consent but could have a significant environmental impact, such as a port facility or major water supply system, is also likely to be considered as SSI.
More on State significant infrastructure
State Significant Sites
The State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Project) 2005 provides for the Minister to declare an area to be a State significant site. State significant sites are typically sites that the Minister for Planning considers may have a wider social, economic or environmental significance for the community, for example universities, hospitals, employment precincts and major residential developments. The site may also have redevelopment significance important to implementing State planning objectives.
Proposed Sites: A number of projects currently declared as Proposed Sites are listed online.
Gazetted Sites: Gazetted State Significant sites are those that have been listed in Schedule 3 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Projects) 2005.
The steps that a major development or infrastructure project must take towards gaining approval vary slightly between State significant development (SSD) and State significant infrastructure (SSI). However, both assessment pathways include:
- the issuing of environmental assessment requirements by the Department;
- preparation of an environmental impact statement by the applicant;
- public exhibition and opportunity for comment on the proposal by the community;
- response by the applicant to the submissions made during exhibition;
- assessment of the proposal by the Department; and
- determination of the proposal by the Planning Assessment Commission, the Department or the Minister (in the case of most SSI projects).
In addition, the Minister may also decide that a review and public hearing by the Planning Assessment Commission may be required for the complex State significant development proposals. The SSD Flowchart and SSI Flowchart provide more detail on the assessment steps.
Planning Assessment Commission
The NSW Planning Assessment Commission is an independent panel of experts in planning, architecture, the environment, urban design, land economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, heritage or government and public administration.
Section 23D of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 sets out the functions of the Commission, including:
- determining applications for major developments under delegation from the Minister,
- reviewing any major development including conducting of public hearing, and
- providing independent expert advice on planning and development matters.
Visit the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) website.
Voluntary Planning Agreements
This is a voluntary agreement between a planning authority and a developer. It requires a developer to dedicate land free of cost, pay a monetary contribution or provide any other material of public benefit to be used for public infrastructure or another public purpose.
Planning Agreements with the Minister are usually initiated by a developer to:
- fulfil a requirement under an environmental planning instrument to make satisfactory arrangements for designated State infrastructure,
- transfer environmental conservation lands to public ownership as an offset to development, or
- make alternative arrangements for the payment of contributions required under a Special Infrastructure Contributions plan.
Read more on Voluntary Planning Agreements.
How to make a submission on a development application
If you feel that you will be affected by a development proposal the Department is considering you can make a submission to the Department.
- Before you make a submission make sure you are familiar with the details of the proposal. Informed comments are most useful, so find out as much as you can by attending information sessions, reading documents relating to the proposal, talking to neighbours or interest groups, etc.
- Your submission does not need to be long or complex. Your opinions, reasons for them and your suggestions are the most important parts.
- State how your concerns might be addressed and your reasons for it.
- Provide references to any factual data such as scientific reports.
- Use photographs, maps or sketches if possible.
- Group your points under the relevant section or chapter of the applicant's statement.
During the exhibition period all information submitted with the application is available for public review:
- on the Planning Portal at the 'Track your application' page by searching for the application,
- At the Department's office nominated on the notification letter. This is normally the Bridge Street office, and
- At the relevant council's principal office.
Making a submission
Any person can make a submission on an application whether or not they were formally notified.
If a group of people are making a combined submission, such as a petition, they should nominate one contact person. If no person is named we will normally send notices only to the first named individual who signed the submission.
All submissions must be in writing
Using the Department's online submission form is the easiest way to make sure your submission is received with the necessary identification information to guarantee it is considered by the right person.
Statements or comments that could be considered defamatory should not be included in submissions. When statements are made in submissions which are potentially defamatory, we may decide to withhold publishing those parts of your submissions on our website.
We are not the authors of submissions and we do not check the accuracy of the content of any submissions received and in no way adopt or approve of their content. The views expressed in submissions are not the views of the Department or its employees.
When you make a submission, please:
- lodge it by the closing date,
- quote the application number and the address of the site,
- provide your name and contact details,
- advise whether you want your personal details to remain confidential,
- clearly state whether you are supporting or objecting to the proposal and how you will be affected, preferably in point form,
- provide suggestions as to how the development could be changed or improved to address your concern, and
- be relevant (civil disputes between neighbours or private rights such as covenants cannot be considered).
Confidentiality in Submissions
Submissions are not confidential. Any submission received will be:
- published on our website along with information on the project,
- summarised in the Department's assessment report, and
- provided to the applicant for their response.
If you wish to maintain your privacy in the submission process you must:
- request your name be withheld from the list of submitters, and
- not include any of your personal information in your submission or attachments.
However if you disclose a political donation your personal information cannot be withheld as we must publish the political donations disclosure statement, which includes your name and address.
Sending it to us
Your submission should reach the Department by the advertised closing date.
We prefer submissions to be made electronically using the online submission form for the project.
Any supporting documents or comments can still be attached to the form for consideration.
Submissions can also be posted to:
The Department of Planning and Environment
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001
You can access the online form by finding the project you want to comment on through the 'Track your application' page.