The NSW Planning Assessment Commission is constituted under Schedule 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and 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 EP&A Act sets out the functions of the Commission. The key functions include:
- To determine applications for major developments under delegation from the Minister;
- To review any major development including conducting of public hearings; and
- To provide independent expert advice on planning and development matters.
On 14 September 2011, an instrument of delegation was issued by the Minister delegating some of his powers and functions to the Planning Assessment Commission. The instrument was gazetted on 28 September 2011 and commenced on 1 October 2011.
The delegation to determine certain major development applications and modification applies to:
- Applications made by private proponents where a reportable political donation has been declared;
- Applications objected to by the relevant council; and
- Applications where more than 25 objection submissions received by the Department of Planning and Environment.
Constitution of the Commission for particular matters
The Minister may direct the number of members to be constituted for a matter (Clause 268B of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000).
On 14 September 2011, the Minister directed that, when exercising its delegated functions, the Commission be constituted by:
- at least two members, nominated by the Chair, for:
- the determination of development applications, project applications and concept plan applications; and
- the making of a local environmental plan under section 59 of the EP&A Act in circumstances where section 89E of the EP&A Act applies;
- at least one member, nomination by the Chair for:
- the purposes of determining a modification application; and
- the making of an order to amend an environmental planning instrument under section 75R(3A) of the EP&A Act.
The Minister’s Direction came into force on 1 October 2011.
On 23 October 2013, the Minister directed that, the same members to review an application (including if holding a public hearing), shall determine the application. This direction came into force on 1 November 2013.
Current Ministerial delegation provides any applications that have more than 25 objection submissions be referred to the Commission for determination. The referral to the Commission takes place after the Department has completed its assessment and the assessment report (and recommendation) is made available on the Department’s website.
The Commission‘s decision making procedures for these applications provide that a public meeting will be held to hear public views on the Department’s assessment report and recommendation before the application is determined.
In circumstances where there are less than 25 objection submissions made to the Department of Planning and Environment but the Commission finds it will benefit from additional public inputs into its decision making process, it may decide to meet with relevant stakeholders including the relevant Council, proponent and/or residents/community groups or hold a public meeting.
The Commission has published a set of procedures to guide the public meetings to building public confidence in its decision making processes.
Guide to Commission Meetings.
A public meeting will not affect appeal rights.
Section 23D(1)(b)(iii) of the EP&A Act provides for the Minister or the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment to request the Commission to hold a public hearing into any planning or development matters.
A public hearing for a major development application, if held, can occur at any stage in the planning process. The Commission will provide a report with recommendations to the Minister/Secretary after the public hearing. The Department’s assessment report is required to take into consideration the findings and recommendations of the Commission. The Commission’s report will generally be published on its website within two weeks of its submission to the Minister/Secretary.
The Commission has published a set of procedures to explain the public hearing process.
Guide to Public Hearings.
General Review and Determination Process
If a development application is referred to the Commission for review/public hearings and subsequent determination under delegation, the general process is as follows:
- The public hearing will be held (with a minimum of 2 weeks public notice) and will often occur after the Department completes a preliminary assessment report including recommended conditions and the report is made public on the Department and Commission’s websites;
- Once completed, the Commission's review report including recommendations will be made public, usually within two weeks of its submission to the Minister and Director General;
- The same Commission members who reviewed the application will also determine the application, where practical; and
- The Commission may determine the application with or without holding a public meeting, even though the application may have received more than 25 objection submissions.
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 requires the Commission to provide an annual report on its operations and reviews to the Minister.
2014-2015 Annual Report
2013-2014 Annual Report
2012-2013 Annual Report
2011-2012 Annual Report
2010-2011 Annual Report
2009-2010 Annual Report
2008-2009 Annual Report
Section 147(3) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 requires a submitter who makes a public submission to the Minister in relation to an application to disclose all reportable political donations to anyone by the submitter or any associate of the submitter. The relevant period for disclosure is 2 years before the submission is made. Click here to download a Political Donations and Gifts Disclosure Statement Form.
Access to information
Much of the information held by the Commission is available on this website, including the following:
- Annual Report
- Code of Conduct
- Procedural Guidelines
- Media releases
- Directions from the Minister
- Notices of public hearings
- Commission reports including advice, review and determination
Other information will be made available on request and there may be a charge attached.
Full details are contained in this Access to Information document.
If you want to make a formal application for information, please fill out the Request for Access to Information Form and return it to the Planning Assessment Commission with your application fee.
The Planning Assessment Commission is committed to the protection of your privacy and personal information. When you deal with the Commission, your personal information is protected under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.
To access the Privacy Statement please click on the link below.
The purpose of this Privacy Statement is to explain how the Commission obtains and uses your personal information.
Policies on Personal Interests and Meeting Records
The work of the Planning Assessment Commission is often complex and contentious. The Planning Assessment Commission is committed to sound governance and management of personal interests. In addition to the Commission's Code of Conduct, the Commission has adopted policies governing record keeping for its meetings, the management of personal interests and conflict of interest matters. To access these policies, please click on the links below.
Policy on Meeting Records
Policy on Personal Interests
Policy guide for conflict of interest