A State significant development (SSD) application is referred in full to the Independent Planning Commission only after it has been publicly exhibited and assessed by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The Department provides the Commission a whole-of-government assessment report, which is published on the Department’s website and the Commission’s website. The Department’s report is not binding on the Commission’s decision.
A public meeting is a meeting to enable the Commission to hear public views on the assessment report.
There is no statutory requirement for the Commission to hold a public meeting before determining an application. The considerations that will guide the Commission in relation to the holding of a public meeting before making a decision on an application are set out in the attached guidelines.
The public meeting does not affect appeal rights under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act).
A public hearing is only held if a formal request is made by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces. If such a request is made, the Commission must hold a public hearing, it is not discretionary.
The Commission has powers to require certain people to attend the public hearing and to give evidence.
When the Commission, at the request of the Minister, holds a public hearing in relation to a state significant development application for which it is the consent authority, merit appeal rights in respect of any future decision on that application are extinguished. See ‘Merit appeal rights’ below.
Given the effect of a public hearing on the merit appeal rights of the applicant and objectors, a public hearing will also involve the Panel seeking to address issues within the public hearing – for example, asking clarification and related questions of the applicant, Department and others throughout the public hearing and at its close.
A public hearing held by the Commission affects merit appeal rights for both the applicant and objectors.
After a public hearing, no merit appeal may be brought under Division 8.3 of the EP&A Act, in respect of any future decision made by the Commission as consent authority under the EP&A Act in relation to the carrying out of any development that is the subject of this public hearing. See Division 8.3 of the EP&A Act for more details.
In accordance with the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces’s authorisation, the Commission has delegated its functions under clause 55 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 to agree to amendments or variations to development applications prior to determination to officers of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
It is the joint understanding of the Commission and the Department that these delegated functions will not be exercised by the Department after the Department’s whole of government assessment has been provided to the Commission in respect of a matter.
What you should know before sending written correspondence to the Independent Planning Commission:
Further details of the Commission's handling of complaints are set out in the Complaints Management Policy.