The Office of Local Government has prepared guidelines to help accelerate development application (DA) assessment timeframes in councils. The guidelines ask councils not to request unnecessary information from applicants, or unnecessarily request applicants withdraw DA proposals.
Guidelines on the withdrawal of development applications
The Office of Local Government (OLG) has prepared Guidelines on the Withdrawal of Development Applications (the guidelines). The guidelines have been issued under section 23A of the Local Government Act 1993, and councils are required to consider these in exercising their development application (DA) assessment functions.
The guidelines strongly encourage councils to avoid practices that delay DA assessment within reasonable timeframes, and councils must be satisfied that any request to withdraw a DA is consistent with the following principles:
1. Councils in NSW can contribute to the challenge of addressing the State’s housing shortage through their responsibilities as local planning authorities.
2. The expeditious assessment and determination of DAs creates a pipeline of development proposals with housing opportunities.
3. Councils in NSW are required to devote appropriate resources to their planning and assessment teams to ensure development applications are assessed and determined within reasonable timeframes, consistent with the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Statement of Expectations) Order 2021 as issued under section 9.6(9) of the EP&A Act.
4. Councils are not to engage in practices of delay in assessing applications, including unnecessarily asking applicants to provide information not necessary for the assessment of the proposal or seeking the applicant to withdraw the proposal.
5. The request to withdraw a DA is consistent with the Best Practice Guide and the request is not intended to enhance council’s performance data outcomes.
6. Data from the NSW Planning Portal will continue to be used to show the performance of councils in the assessment of development.