Strategic assessment of the western Sydney growth centres

Under national environment law—the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)—the minister may agree to undertake a strategic assessment on the impacts of actions under a policy, plan or program. The legislation also requires that a terms of reference be developed to guide such a strategic assessment.

The Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, along with the New South Wales Government Minister for Climate Change and the Environment and Minister for Planning, signed an agreement to undertake a strategic assessment of the Sydney growth centres on 11 November 2009.

The New South Wales Government proposes development of the Sydney growth centres to accommodate Sydney's growing population. Projections indicate that by 2036 Sydney's population will increase by 1.7 million people. The growth centres aim to accommodate 181 000 new homes and land for employment for about 500 000 new residents over the next 25 to 30 years.

Strategic assessment public consultation processes

The public comment period on the draft terms of reference for the strategic assessment of the Sydney growth centres closed on 23 December 2009.

The public comment period on the program for the development of the Sydney growth centres and the strategic assessment report began on 24 May 2010 and closed on 25 June 2010. These documents are available on the NSW Department of Planning website.

Previous NSW Government consultation

The New South Wales Government also undertook public consultation during planning of the western Sydney growth centres:

  • in June 2005, when the Managing Sydney's Growth Centres plans were exhibited, and
  • in January 2006, when the draft State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Centres) 2006 (the SEPP) was displayed

Subsequently, the SEPP was gazetted and the New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water granted biodiversity certification of the SEPP. This removes the need for threatened species assessment under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for areas that have been certified.

Endorsement

On 20 December 2011, the Australian Government environment minister endorsed the program document Sydney Growth Centres Strategic Assessment: Program report, including an addendum. The endorsement of this program allows the minister to consider giving approval to actions that are taken in accordance with the endorsed program.

Endorsed Program Report:

Strategic assessment reports:

Approval

On 28 February 2012, the minister approved classes of actions associated with implementing the Sydney Growth Centres Strategic Assessment: Program report.

Further information