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20 February 2018: Department of Planning and Environment news

Updates to implementation of Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Act 2017 changes

As you are aware changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Act 2017 come into effect on 1 March 2018. I am writing to provide important updates on the implementation of the Act.

Guide to the Act

The comprehensive guide now available on the Department’s website and provides estimated commencement timeframes. This page will be regularly updated with the details of how the staged implementation will be carried out.

Staged implementation

Whilst most of the changes will come into effect from 1 March, others will take longer to come into effect as they require further guidance and consultation. This will provide time for councils, communities, industry and practitioners to understand and prepare for the new requirements, including by updating their documents and forms to reflect the new structure. 

New features such as community participation plans and local strategic planning statements will be introduced over time to ensure all stakeholders can prepare for changes, supported by appropriate guidance, templates and other resources.  

Local planning panels

In greater Sydney and Wollongong LGAs, local planning panels will be commencing from 1 March also. Panel expert members and Chairs have been invited to a briefing day on 21 February. An additional session for community representatives will be arranged once all have been appointed by councils.

The purpose of these briefings is to provide practical information and guidance on how to perform the duties of the role. All the panel members appointed to the pool are experts in fields relevant to planning and making expert determinations of development applications.

Many councils across Sydney and Wollongong have had similar panels in place for many years. The role out of a consistent framework across Sydney for panels is an important step in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of development assessment.


Best regards

Alison Frame

Deputy Secretary Policy and Communication



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