NSW overhauls state significant projects assessments

NSW overhauls state significant projects assessments

Assessments for state significant projects such as waste management and energy generating facilities will be cut by three-quarters in a major overhaul of the NSW planning system.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the new Rapid Assessments Framework would cut unnecessary and time consuming steps in the assessment of major projects.

“For projects that are more straightforward and low risk we are slashing timeframes for initial assessment steps from 28 days to just seven days,” he said.

“At the moment, every major project is treated the same as a coal mine where comprehensive and costly environmental impact statements are required.

“Without compromising on the quality or robustness of assessments, it is a common sense approach to speeding up the process to get important projects moving.”

The new Rapid Assessments Framework will include:

• Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) summaries not be longer than 200 pages

• Certification of EISs by an accredited professional practitioner will be required before submission

• Initial assessment steps for more straightforward State Significant Development projects will be cut from 28 days to seven days

• Clear guidance for assessment of “cumulative impacts” of projects

• Streamlined lodgement processes for applicants

“Major projects vary in scale, complexity and impact so we’re moving from a one-size-fits-all approach to more tailored assessment process,” Stokes said.

“Coal mines are still coal mines and assessed as such, but projects should be assessed in a timeframe that is proportionate to the impacts.”

The Rapid Assessments Framework is on public exhibition until February 12, with implementation planned for mid-2021.

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