Changes to development approval processes

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Changes to development approval processes

Subsidence Advisory NSW (SA NSW) is making changes to streamline the development approval process in mine subsidence districts. There are four key changes:

1. SA NSW’s development guidelines have been updated, reducing the number of guidelines from 19 to eight, removing unnecessary duplication.

2.  Councils and Accredited Certifiers can now approve certain low risk development applications without requiring referral to SA NSW.

3. Development applications requiring SA NSW assessment can be lodged, tracked and managed through SA NSW’s new online portal.

4. Applicants can find out the SA NSW development guideline that applies to a property online via the NSW Planning Portal.

Further information about each of these changes is outlined below.

Frequently asked questions
1. What are the changes to SA NSW surface development guidelines?

SA NSW has set development guidelines to help landowners building within a mine subsidence district. The guidelines set out the requirements for building on a property based on potential subsidence risks. SA NSW’s guidelines cover the nature and class of a development, the size, height and location of structures, and the use of certain building materials and construction methods.

SA NSW recently completed a review of its development guidelines to ensure they can be administered quickly and easily. The number of guidelines is being reduced from 19 to eight. SA NSW has applied one of the eight new guidelines to each property in a district based on applicable subsidence risks. In most cases, the new guideline applied to properties is very similar to the previous guideline.

2. Why is SA NSW changing its development guidelines?

SA NSW has not completed a full review of its development guidelines in over 15 years. Given the many changes and advances in industry practice over this time, a review of SA NSW’s guidelines was necessary to ensure they remain up to date and effectively minimise the risk of subsidence damage.

An expert reference group with representatives from government, the development and mining industries along with academics specialising in structural, geotechnical or mining engineering was convened to provide input into the review.

The review found that there is unnecessary duplication in the development guidelines. As a result, the number of guidelines is being reduced from 19 to eight. These eight guidelines have been updated to remove unnecessary complexities and allow local government planners and Accredited Certifiers to approve low risk development applications.

3. What are SA NSW’s development guidelines?

SA NSW has set development guidelines to help landowners building within a mine subsidence district. The guidelines set out the requirements for building on a property based on potential subsidence risks.

SA NSW’s guidelines include requirements related to the nature and class of any development on a property, the size, height and location of new structures, and the use of certain building materials and construction methods.

Neighbouring properties in a district may have different guidelines. This is because SA NSW individually considers the subsidence risks on each property when determining the appropriate guideline. This may occur when one property is mined beneath while the neighbouring is not mined beneath.

4. What applications can Councils and Accredited Certifiers approve without being assessed by SA NSW?

Councils and Accredited Certifiers are authorised to approve development applications that comply with the below five guidelines without a requirement for referral to SA NSW.

  • Guideline 2
  • Guideline 3
  • Guideline 5
  • Guideline 6
  • Guideline 8

Councils and Certifiers will still be required to refer any development applications that do not comply with a property’s guideline or applications for development on properties assigned Guidelines 1, 4 or 7 to SA NSW for approval.

5. How do I find out the development guideline for my property?

You can now find out the SA NSW development guideline for a property in a mine subsidence district online through the NSW Planning Portal. Find out more here.

6. How can I find out who can approve development on my property?

SA NSW’s new development guidelines include details of the assessment authority for proposed development that complies with the guideline on the property. Depending on the area, this may be Council / Accredited Certifier or SA NSW. All development that does not comply with the guidelines must be assessed by SA NSW.

7. My proposed development does not comply with SA NSW’s development guideline for the property. What do I do now?

All applications for proposed development in a district that do not comply with a property’s SA NSW development guideline are considered by SA NSW on merit. This means SA NSW will consider the proposed development in line with the potential subsidence risks at the property. SA NSW may request further investigations or place construction conditions on the development to help protect the proposed structure from damage should subsidence occur.

If you are planning a large or significant development, you should contact SA NSW on (02) 4908 4300 during the preliminary planning stages of the project, prior to having detailed plans drawn. SA NSW can provide advice and guidance on likely construction conditions or subsidence mitigation measures.

8. Will Councils or Accredited Certifiers have authority to refuse applications that do not comply with a property’s SA NSW guideline?

No. Councils and Accredited Certifiers will be required to refer all applications for development that do not comply with a property’s SA NSW development guideline to SA NSW for assessment. SA NSW will assess the application on merit and may place conditions on the proposed development to help protect it from subsidence damage.

9. How do I lodge a development application with SA NSW?

If your development application requires assessment by SA NSW, you can lodge it as an Integrated Development through Council or through SA NSW’s online portal at www.subsidenceadvisory.nsw.gov.au.

You can log in to SA NSW’s portal using your Service NSW account details. If you do not have a Service NSW account, you will need to create one. There is no cost to register for a Service NSW account. Further information about the portal is available here.

10. Will there be longer approval timeframes for development applications?

No. Processing timeframes for the vast majority of development applications will be reduced. Development on certain properties that complies with the property’s SA NSW development guideline can be assessed by Council or an Accredited Certifier without requiring a separate assessment by SA NSW.

SA NSW will continue to assess development applications outside of the guidelines as well as all development on properties assigned Guidelines 1, 4 and 7. Large scale developments will continue to be assessed by SA NSW on merit. Generally, SA NSW processes merit based applications within 30 days. However, in some instances where additional studies are required the assessment process can take longer.

11. The guideline from my property requires assessment by SA NSW. Does this mean there is a higher chance of subsidence damage at my property?

Not necessarily. SA NSW is retaining assessment of all development on properties assigned Guidelines 1, 4 and 7.

Properties assigned Guideline 7 do not have specific construction guidelines applied, rather SA NSW considers all proposed developments on these properties on application. There are many reasons why a property may be assigned Guideline 7, including:

  • Insufficient information known about mining beneath property
  • Property only partially mined beneath
  • Subsidence risks necessitate engineering assessment.

There are many different types of subsidence impacts. SA NSW may be retaining assessment of all development on your property as the type of potential subsidence in the area requires SA NSW technical input.

 

12. Can the guideline for my property change?

Yes. The SA NSW guideline assigned to a property may change as a result of further information about potential for subsidence. SA NSW may assign a different guideline to a property over time due to subdivision, mitigation work such as grouting, or new information about subsidence risks.

For example, a large property that is partially mined beneath may be subdivided resulting in the creation of new lots that are not impacted by underground mining. In this instance, SA NSW may apply a different guideline with no restrictions to those new lots that are not mined beneath.

13. I recently requested the development guideline for my property and had plans drawn up but the guideline has now changed and the proposed development no longer complies with the guideline. What happens now?

In most cases, a property’s new development guideline will be very similar to its previous guideline. In instances where the guideline has changed and proposed development no longer complies, SA NSW has introduced a six-month transition period. This means SA NSW will take the previous guideline into consideration when assessing development on properties where the guideline has changed.

If you have any questions about how the changes to development guidelines impact proposed development, please contact SA NSW on (02) 4908 4300 to speak with one of our technical officers.

14. Do the changes impact proposed subdivisions?

No. All subdivision proposals will continue to be assessed by SA NSW. Subdivision applications can be lodged through SA NSW’s online portal at www.subsidenceadvisory.nsw.gov.au.

15. Why is Government making changes to the development approval process?

SA NSW is making changes to streamline the development approval process in mine subsidence districts. The changes will result in a faster, improved assessment process for the vast majority of development applications in districts.

17. How do I find out the Lot and Deposited Plan (DP) number for my property?

The Lot and Deposited Plan (DP) number for your property can be found on your Council rates notice or contract of sale.

18. Do the changes impact mine subsidence districts?

No. SA NSW has recently reviewed mine subsidence districts (districts) across NSW, and changes to the districts commenced on 1 July 2017. Changes included new districts, extensions to current districts and revoking of districts in some areas.

property owners must construct or alter improvements or subdivide land in accordance with SA NSW approval in order to be eligible for compensation for future damage caused to such improvements by subsidence. In most cases, SA NSW’s development requirements for standard residential development are consistent with the Australian Building Code and do not result in increased construction costs or requirements.

Further information on the changes to districts is available at www.subsidenceadvisory.nsw.gov.au/changes-to-districts.

19. What legislation gives effect to the changes to the development approval process?

Under Section 24 of the Coal Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 2017, SA NSW may exempt specified work from requiring SA NSW approval subject to conditions. The full exemption order can be viewed here.