Planning and development

Land-use planning and development is intrinsically linked with environmental protection, nature conservation and natural resource management.

Planning law must protect the environment and communities

Effective planning can protect wildlife habitat, water resources, farmland and urban settlements, and can help us tackle some of our most pressing environmental challenges, including:

  • loss and fragmentation of native vegetation and wildlife habitat
  • degradation of rivers, wetlands and water catchments
  • urban sprawl, traffic congestion and urban air pollution
  • carbon pollution and impacts of climate change

We believe the planning system should be about planning for the future, protecting and managing our precious natural resources, supporting communities and our way of life. New South Wales deserves a planning system that will provide positive and balanced environmental, social and economic outcomes for our state, now and into the future.

Find out more

Proposed Changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 

Three years after the failed Planning Bill 2013, the NSW Government is proposing a number of significant changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. While it’s not a complete re-write of the planning system, there are some major changes proposed, some good and some bad.

Download our submission guide to help you make a submission before 31 March 2017.

Register to attend a workshop in your local region:







Monday 27 February

Sage Hotel

60-62 Harbour St, Wollongong

Register for Wollongong


Wednesday 1 March

Westside Hotel Bar & Bistro

22 – 30 Whylandra St, West Dubbo

Register for Dubbo


Thursday 2 March

Ramada Hotel & Suites

2 Martin St, Ballina

Register for Ballina


Friday 3 March

Albury Club

519 Kiewa St, Albury 

Register for Albury


Friday 10 March

Orange Ex-Services’ Club

231-243 Anson St, Orange

Register for Orange


Monday 13 March

Best Western

11 Antill St, Queanbeyan

Register for Queanbeyan


Tuesday 14 March

Fort Scratchley

Nobbys Rd, Newcastle East

Register for Newcastle


Thursday 16 March

Wests Diggers Club

Kable Ave, Tamworth

Register for Tamworth


Will you sign the Community Charter for Good Planning?

Last year, we campaigned against the government’s planning reforms, which would have weakened environmental protections and cut the community out of planning decisions.

Since then we’ve teamed up with organisations across NSW to develop the Community Charter for Good Planning, which sets out principles to achieve a better, fairer and more accountable planning system in NSW.

The Community Charter has now been endorsed by key environment groups and a rapidly growing number of individuals, parliamentarians and community organisations.

You can add your name by visiting

Regional Growth and Infrastructure Plans

The NSW Government is starting to develop Regional Growth and Infrastructure Plans across NSW. These plans will underpin planning and environment decisions in your regional area over the next 20 years.

This is an important opportunity to have your say on the long-term environment and conservation issues in your region including biodiversity and habitat loss, water resources, mining and coal seam gas, agriculture, waste management, pollution, transport and green industry.

Discussion Papers have been released for the Central Coast and Lower Hunter, and a draft Plan for the Illawarra was exhibited in late 2014.

More information:

An open letter on the status of planning in NSW

In February 2015, we wrote to Planning Minister, Pru Goward, and each of the major parties outlining our concerns with the status of planning in NSW. You can read our letter and the Government's response below:

Letter to Minister Goward - An open letter on the status of planning in NSW

Government's response

You can help by volunteering, making a donation and signing up for email updates. 


Latest news


9 October 2017


Coalition to change law to favour big polluters – again

The Nature Conservation Council condemns the NSW Coalition government’s plans to change the law to allow Centennial Coal to pollute Sydney’s drinking water supply to avert a non-existent crisis.

Planning and DevelopmentClimate and energy

10 October, 2017


Crossbenchers must vote to maintain the purity of Sydney’s drinking water

The Nature Conservation Council is calling on crossbenchers in the NSW Legislative Council to reject amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act the government rushed through the NSW Legislative Assembly last night.

Planning and DevelopmentClimate and energyRivers and wetlandsCoal and gas

12 October 2017


New law overturns Springvale mine court ruling and weakens drinking water protection

The NSW Parliament passed a regressive law last night to wipe away findings of the NSW Court of Appeal, allowing the continued operation of the Springvale coal mine and locking in pollution for developments in Sydney’s drinking water catchment.

Planning and DevelopmentClimate and energyCoal and gas




Paradise lost: The weakening and widening of biodiversity offsetting in NSW, 2005-2016

This is a report on the biodiversity offsets schemes in NSW since 2005.


Our Environment, Our Future: Policies for the 2015 NSW election and beyond

This document details the environment movement's top policy asks for the 2015 NSW election.


Our Environment, Our Communities

Integrating environmental outcomes and community engagement in the NSW planning system


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