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Determination Process

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).

For further information, please see the Commission’s Public Meeting Guidelines.
The Commission may meet with the applicant, the Department (or other government agencies), the relevant local Council and other interested people before making its decision, if the Commission considers that it is necessary to do so. Records of such meetings will be kept in accordance with the Commission's Meeting Record Policy.

Public hearing process

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.

For more information, please see the Commission’s Public Hearing Guidelines.

Multi-stage public hearing process for State significant development

Multi-stage public hearings have been discontinued, as per Recommendation 11 of the Productivity Commission's Review of the IPC.

Merit appeal rights

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.

Amendments or variations to development applications

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.

How we manage correspondence

What you should know before sending written correspondence to the Independent Planning Commission:

  • Once it is received your correspondence or email will become a formal record. All documents provided to the Commission are public documents and can be made publicly available on the Commission's website.
  • Your correspondence may be used for statistical reporting purposes.
  • The Commission receives large volumes of correspondence and does not respond to all correspondence, this includes:
    • submissions or comments made on a project the Commission is considering. All correspondence providing comments on a project will be referred to the relevant Commission members, for their consideration as part of the project;
    • correspondence where the Commission is not the primary recipient but marked as carbon copy (CC) or blind copy (BC);
    • unsolicited advertisements; and
    • correspondence containing offensive language or content. Any correspondence containing threatening content or advocating illegal activities will be forwarded to NSW Police Force.

What can you expect

  • If you are registering to speak at a meeting the Commission has advertised
    • Your registration is not automatically accepted, it must be processed and confirmed by the Office of the Independent Planning Commission.
    • If you have not received confirmation from the Office of the Independent Planning Commission within two (2) business days of your email please follow up to ensure your registration has been received.
    • The Office of the Independent Planning Commission releases a schedule of registered speakers on its website approximately 24 hours prior to each meeting.
  • If you are providing a submission or comments on a planning matter before the Commission
    • The issues raised in submissions and comments are considered by the Commission and where relevant they may be discussed in the Commission's report on the matter. You will not receive a direct response to your correspondence.

If you have an enquiry or complaint

  • The Office of the Independent Planning Commission will aim to reply to general enquiries or complaints within 10 working days. If additional time is required to consider your enquiry or complaint we will contact you to advise when you can expect a response.

Further details of the Commission's handling of complaints are set out in the Complaints Management Policy.