Planning legislation - Shoalhaven City Council

Planning legislation and instruments

The New South Wales State Government provides a framework for the development of planning policies at the local government level through a number of agencies and laws. The New South Wales planning and development assessment system is the means by which we manage our environment and use of resources. Planning and development is generally carried out under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (new window) and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (new window). The full text of legislation is available from the NSW legislation (new window) website.

Environmental planning instruments

Environmental planning instruments are legal documents that regulate land use and development both locally as well as state wide. The plan-making system in NSW is set out in Part 3 of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (new window). The Act provides for members of the public to participate in planning decisions that will shape their community’s future. The relevant environmental planning instruments that sit under the Act are outlined below.

State environmental planning policies (SEPP's)

The NSW Government established SEPP's to address state significant issues. SEPP's must be considered as part of any development application or relevant strategic planning process. SEPP's fall under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (new window) and are classified as an environmental planning instrument. Please be aware that when assessing a development application, a SEPP overrides, or can be applied in conjunction with, the requirements of Council’s LEP or DCP.

SEPP's are prepared by the NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure, require the Minister’s or State Government approval and become law when published on the NSW legislation (new window) website.

Regional environmental plans (REP's)

As part of improvements to simplify the State’s planning system, as of 1 July 2009, regional environmental plans (REP's) are no longer part of the hierarchy of environmental planning instruments in NSW. All existing REP's are now deemed State environmental planning policies (SEPP's) and are being reviewed as part of the NSW planning system reforms. 

Local environmental plans (LEP's)

LEP's apply either to the whole, or part of, a local government area. LEP's divide the area they cover into "zones", such as rural, residential, industrial, recreational, open space, environment protection and business zones.

For each zone, the LEP gives a list of "objectives" that indicate the principal intended use for that zone. Each zone also lists the types of development within that zone that are:

  • Permissible without development consent
  • Permissible with development consent, and
  • Prohibited

To work out whether a particular development is permitted within a particular area, you should contact Council to find out how the area is zoned under the LEP. You can either view the LEP on the website or look at it over the counter at Council's Administrative Building.

Further information


Council maintains a register of its planning documents, including Interim development orders, local environmental plans, draft local environmental plans and planning proposals.

The following planning documents can be searched in the register:

  • LEP: Interim Development Orders, Shoalhaven Local Environmental Plans and amendments
  • DLEP: Draft Shoalhaven Local Environmental Plans
  • PP: Planning Proposals

Click on the link to see the list of documents of that type. In the registers some items can be selected from the list to view further information

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