Newly-elected councils will have clear performance benchmarks to meet in delivering planning decisions under reforms released today to create jobs, boost housing supply and attract investment.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said councils would be required to adhere to clear maximum timeframes for assessments and determinations.

“The NSW Government sets its own strict benchmarks for assessing rezonings and development applications to ensure timeliness and certainty, and we are now asking councils to do the same,” Mr Stokes said.

“Decisions can be tough to make, but we’re putting the onus on developers and councils to work together so there is sufficient information available to make confident and timely determinations.”

A new planning Order and a new discussion paper, both released today, include the following reforms:

 Consistent timelines for planning decisions across the planning system;
 Powers for the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces to intervene where councils are not upholding their responsibilities;
 Proposed improvements to the rezoning process to support prompt decision-making, more informed community consultation, and risk-based approaches to assessments, timeframes and fees; and
 A new planning guarantee requires councils to make timely decisions or face having to refund planning application fees.

“Planning delays increase housing costs and prevent new housing supply from being delivered in a timely manner. Our new planning guarantee will give the housing industry confidence that assessment timelines will be achieved,” Mr Stokes said.

“Last year we cleared 336 rezoning proposals through the system, paving the way for nearly 34,000 jobs and more than 40,000 homes. These draft reforms will go a step further by reducing timelines by up to a year for standard applications.”

In the interim, a new guideline has also come into effect to better explain the rezoning process and introduce new practices to immediately improve the system, including earlier engagement and categorising proposals based on their complexity.

For more information and to give feedback on rezoning reforms, visit

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