A new planning system for New South Wales - White Paper

17 April 2013

The Context

‘A New Planning System for New South Wales ‑ White Paper’ represents the final stage of the comprehensive review of the state’s planning system which was initiated by the NSW Government in July 2011.  

After the release of the Green Paper in July 2012, community members, businesses, organisations and industry practitioners were invited to give final comments on the proposed areas of reform  The White Paper aims to set out the recommended reforms in a way that elaborates on the contents of the new planning system and provides a response to the questions and issues raised in the submissions received on the Green Paper.

The White Paper is accompanied by two exposure Bills which will eventually form the basis of the new state planning legislation.  The content of the White Paper and Bills (Reform Package) will be open for public comment until 28 June 2013.


The NSW Government’s stated purpose in introducing a new planning system is “to promote economic growth and development in NSW for the benefit of the entire community, while protecting the environment and enhancing people’s way of life.”[1]  The White Paper places an emphasis on the term “sustainable development”, being the “the integration of economic, environmental and social considerations in decision making, having regard for present and future needs.”[2]


The Reform Package builds on five key focus areas, originally identified in the Green Paper as “major transformative changes”.  They are:

  • Changing the planning culture referred to as the “delivery culture”).
  • Community participation.
  • Introducing a strategic planning framework.
  • Development assessment.
  • The provision of infrastructure.

Important complementary changes will also be made to building regulation and certification to ensure better quality of construction and fire protection over the life of buildings.

More information on the substance of each of these proposed changes is set out in the full article, click 'Download' to read.

  [1] White Paper, p52.

  [2] White Paper, p5.

The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.

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Christine Covington

Partner. Sydney
+61 2 9210 6428


Louise Camenzuli

Partner. Sydney
+61 2 9210 6621