The NSW Parliament has recently passed amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (Act) and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 (NSW) (Regulation), which mandate longer exhibition periods for development applications made by councils or which involve land owned or occupied by councils.

Council-related developments

With effect from 3 April 2023, council-related development applications must remain on public exhibition for a minimum of 28 days, compared to the regular 14-day period for most other development applications.

A new definition of "council-related development application" will be inserted into the Act, meaning a development application, for which a council is the consent authority, that is:

  • made by or on behalf of the council; or
  • for development on land:
    • of which the council is an owner, a lessee or a licensee; or
    • otherwise vested in or under the control of the council.

All council-related development applications and related development consents must be added to a council's usual DA register. In addition to the ordinary details specified by clause 240 of the Regulation, entries in the register for council-related development must include details of any conflicts of interest that may arise and any measures taken by the council to manage the conflicts of interest.

Conflict of interest policies

A council will not be permitted to determine a council-related development application unless it has adopted a conflict of interest policy and considers that policy in making its determination. A council's conflict of interest policy must specify how council will manage conflicts of interest that arise in connection with council-related development applications, and must comply with the Council-related Development Application Conflict of Interest Guidelines published by the Department of Planning and Environment.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.