On 18 September 2020, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (“EP&A Regulation”) was amended to extend the prescribed period for COVID-19 emergency measures under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (“EP&A Act”) until 25 March 2021.
The prescribed period was previously scheduled to end on 25 September 2020.
During the prescribed period, the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces is empowered pursuant to section 10.17 of the EP&A Act to make orders authorising development to be carried out on land without the need for any approval under that Act or consent from any person. We previously wrote about some of the orders that have been introduced by the Minister pursuant to this power, including orders that permit development for the purposes of health services facilities to be carried without development consent subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions.
The power to make such orders remains subject to a requirement for the Minister to consult with the Minister for Health and Medical Research and form an opinion of reasonable satisfaction that the making of the order is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of members of the public during the pandemic.
The extension of the prescribed period also applies to the following measures:
- The deemed satisfaction of requirements in the EP&A Act and EP&A Regulation for documents to be made available for inspection at a physical location where the relevant documents are made available electronically on the NSW Planning Portal or other approved websites in section 10.18 of the EP&A Act;
- The power of the Minister to direct a consent authority as to the time at which a monetary contribution or levy is to be paid in section 7.17(1)(h) of the EP&A Act;
- The requirement to hold public hearings and meetings of planning bodies such as the Independent Planning Commission and district, regional or local planning panels via audio link or audio visual link in clause 294 of the EP&A Regulation.
In addition, State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (“the Codes SEPP”) has been amended to allow 24 hour deliveries to retail premises to continue until the end of the prescribed period as exempt development.
For further information on these planning and environmental law updates, please contact Adam Seton on firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 4626 5077 and David Baird on email@example.com or (02) 4626 5077.
The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.