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Planning Panels  were introduced in NSW on 1 July 2009 to strengthen decision making on regionally significant development applications (DAs) and certain other planning matters.

The Planning Panels are independent bodies.  Determinations made by the Planning Panels are not subject to the direction of the Minister for Planning.

Where do the Planning Panels operate?

Planning Panels include Sydney Planning Panels (SPPs) and Regional Planning Panels (RPPs).

The Planning Panels do not cover the City of Sydney, where the Central Sydney Planning Committee operates.

Find out which local government areas (LGAs) are covered by each Planning Panel

Note: The establishment of the Sydney Planning Panels (SPPs), on 21 November 2016, replaced the former Sydney East and Sydney West JRPPs. On 22 September 2017, the number of SPPs was reduced to five following the Greater Sydney Commission's merger of the South West and West Districts. The District Merger affected the Sydney West Planning Panel andthe Sydney South West Planning Panel, which were combined, forming the Sydney Western City Planning Panel. At the same time the Sydney West Central Planning Panel was re-named the Sydney Central City Planning Panel and the Sydney Central Planning Panel was re-named the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel.

What do the Planning Panels do?

The Planning Panels:

  • determine ‘regionally significant’ development applications (DAs) and certain other DAs and modification applications
  • act as the Planning Proposal Authority (PPA) when directed
  • undertake rezoning reviews
  • provide advice on other planning and development matters when requested
  • determine applications for Site Compatibility Certificates (SCCs) under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004.

Development applications
The Planning Panels determine the following types of development applications (DAs):

    • development with a capital investment value (CIV)* over $30 million
    • development with a CIV* over $5 million which is:
      • council related
      • lodged by or on behalf of the Crown (State of NSW)
      • private infrastructure and community facilities
      • eco-tourist facilities
    • extractive industries, waste facilities and marinas that are designated development,
    • certain coastal subdivisions
    • development with a CIV* between $10 million and $30 million which is referred to the Planning Panel by the applicant after 120 days

*     Capital investment value (CIV) is calculated at the time of lodgement of the DA for the purpose of determining whether an application should go to a Planning Panel - refer to Planning Circular PS 10-008.

The Planning Panels do not operate in the City of Sydney Council area.

Developments which meet State Significant Development criteria are not determined by the Planning Panels. 

It is the responsibility of the relevant local Council to carry out a proper and professional assessment of a proposal for the panel’s determination of the DA. Dependent on Council policy, this will include the public exhibition of the application and assessment of submissions received. 

The public panel meeting is an important part of the determination process for a DA. The purpose of the meeting is for the panel to hear those who wish to express their view on the DA before a decision is made.  

The Planning Panels operational procedures provide more detail on public meetings and the role of councils and the panels.

Diagram showing sequence of stages in determination process for regionally significant development applications

Figure: an overview of the process to determine regionally significant DAs

Coastal Protection Works

State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011, (Schedule 7, clause 8A), declares certain development for the purposes of coastal protection works to be 'regionally significant development' for which the consent authority is a Sydney district or regional planning Panel. 

A regional planning panel, or Sydney district planning panel if within Sydney, with appropriate coastal expertise, will determine development applications for certain coastal protection works that are adjacent to, or under the waters of teh open ocean, the entrance to an estuary or the entrance to a coastal lake that is open to the ocean. Where these works have been strategically identified in a certified CMP, the local council is the consent authority. 

The regional planning panel or Sydney district planning panel exercise development consent functions for applications for coastal protection works by private landowners and public authorities where the works are not exempted by clause 19(2) of the Coastal Management SEPP. The regional planning panel or Sydney district planning panel may continue to have consent authority functions such as modification to development consents it previously granted, even if the works are subsequently identified in a certified CMP.  

For further information about coastal protection works, click here

For information about the members with coastal expertise who will join planning panels when they are considering coastal protection works, click here

Planning proposals

Rezoning reviews

The Planning Panels may undertake independent reviews of some Council and Department of Planning and Environment decisions in the plan making process. By providing an opportunity for an independent body to give advice on LEPs, the review processes allow Councils and proponents to have decisions about the strategic merits of proposed amendments reconsidered.

A request for a rezoning review can be submitted by a proponent where Council:

  • has notified the proponent that the request to prepare a planning proposal is not supported, or
  • has not indicated its support 90 days after the proponent submitted a request accompanied by the required information, or
  • has failed to submit a planning proposal for a Gateway determination within a reasonable time after the council has indicated its support.

The Planning Panel will determine whether the planning proposal should proceed, or not proceed, for a Gateway determination.  The Panel’s decision will be based on the strategic and site specific merits of a proposal.

The Panel will only review the planning proposal initially considered by Council, rather than any amended or updated version.

Further detail on the rezoning review process can be find in the Department’s A Guide to Preparing Local Environmental Plans and the Planning Panels Operational Procedures.

Planning Proposal Authority

The Planning Panels can act as the Planning Proposal Authority (PPA) for the purpose of preparing a local environmental plan (LEP) when directed to do so.

When a Planning Panel has been appointed as the PPA for the preparation of a LEP, the planning proposal is exhibited in accordance with the Gateway determination.

Community consultation is undertaken in accordance with legislative requirements.  The exhibition of a planning proposal will occur in a similar way to the process at local councils and will include:

  • the planning proposal documentation being on display at the offices of the relevant local Council/s and the Department of Planning and Environment and also available on this website
  • advertisements will be placed in appropriate local newspapers and relevant State agencies, local Council/s and adjacent landowners will be notified of the community consultation period
  • planning proposals are generally exhibited for a minimum of 28 days, and during this period public comment is encouraged

During the community consultation period any person is able to make a written submission to the Planning Panel regarding the proposal.

The Planning Panel will assess the planning proposal and all public submissions before making a recommendation to the Minister and as part of this process a public meeting may be held.

See the planning proposals on exhibition and planning proposals currently registered with the Planning Panels.

Site Compatibility Certificates

The Planning Panels are responsible for issuing SCCs.

Written applications for SCCs will continue to be lodged with the Department which will prepare an assessment report and recommendation for the relevant panel. Following consideration of the application and report and having regard to those matters set out at clause 25 of the SEPP, the panel may determine the application by issuing a certificate or refusing to do so.

Should a development application supported by a SCC issued by a panel subsequently come before the panel for determination, the panel will be comprised of different members to the members that issued the SCC.

Other advice

The Planning Panels may also provide advice on other planning or development matters when requested to do so by the Minister, including Gateway reviews which may be requested by a council or proponent following a Gateway. 

Monitoring and Reporting
The Planning Panels Secretariat monitors a number of functions. For the latest figures on monitoring of gross Council assessment times, please see the pages for the Regional Planning Panels or the Sydney Planning Panels.

Who are the members of the Planning Panels? Each Planning Panel consists of five members:

  • three members, including the Chair, appointed by the Minister (State members) and
  • two members nominated by the relevant council (council members).

The council members joining the State members to form a Planning Panel will change, depending on the council area in which the matter under consideration is located.
Find out who the members of each Planning Panel are
Alternate members may also act in the place of the regular members, if required.

More detail on the membership of Planning Panels can be found in the Planning Panels Operational Procedures and Schedule 2 of the EP&A Act.

Guiding documents

Operational Procedures

The Planning Panels Operational Procedures have been developed to explain the means of operating Planning Panels and to clarify the roles of various parties in the process.  The operational procedures should be read in conjunction with the code of conduct.

Code of Conduct

The Planning Panels Code of Conduct (the Code) applies to all members of the Planning Panels and sets out the minimum requirements of behaviour for panel members in carrying out their functions. Prior to a Planning Panel member sitting on a matter it is expected that they have familiarised themselves with the Code.

How can you be involved?

Public meetings are an important part of the consideration of DAs by the Planning Panels.  The purpose of the meeting is for the panel to hear those who wish to express their view on the DA before a decision is made.

The public meeting is in addition to the opportunity to provide a written submission to the relevant council during the public exhibition period.

Where the Planning Panel is acting as the planning proposal authority (PPA), the planning proposal will typically be formally exhibited for public comment once they have passed through the Gateway.  The Planning Panel may also elect to hold a public meeting on the planning proposal after the close of the public exhibition period.

More detail on the public meeting process can be found in the Planning Panels Operational Procedures.

You can visit the Meeting page to see the currently scheduled public meetings.

Please contact the Secretariat if you wish to address the Planning Panel at a public meeting, or have any queries on how you can be involved.

Need more help or information?
The Planning Panels Secretariat (Secretariat) provides administrative and support services to the Planning Panels, including record keeping and the scheduling and notification of meetings.

Please contact the secretariat in the first instance for any Planning Panel matters.


The planning panels (Regional Planning Panels and Sydney Planning Panels) support an accessible, fair and transparent complaints management process.

The Department of Planning and Environment provides assistance to the planning panels in managing complaints.

Dissatisfaction with determinations of the planning panels will not be regarded as a complaint.

If you wish to make a complaint telephone, write or email the Department of Planning and Environment at:

Tel: 1300 305 695.

Postal address: GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001.

Email: information@planning.nsw.gov.au.

Complaints made in this way will be recorded in the Department’s Complaints Register and will be allocated to the appropriate level for investigation and response. 

If you are not satisfied with a response, you can ask for the issue to be considered by a more senior officer.

Code of conduct complaints will be dealt with under the Planning Panels Code of Conduct. The NSW Ombudsman can also accept complaints.

At any time, a customer can complain to external bodies such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Ombudsman, or the Audit Office of NSW. 

If you have allegations of corrupt conduct, misconduct, or serious waste of resources, you are encouraged to approach these organisations directly.

Complaints about council, councillors or council staff should be directed to the relevant council.

Further information on the Department of Planning and Environment’s complaint management process can be found here.

Last Updated 09-Apr-2019