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Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC) will implement the NSW Government’s ePlanning program next month. The ePlanning Program is an initiative of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Its primary purpose is to drive the digital transformation of the NSW planning system. As of 15 December, Council will only accept development applications through the planning portal.  Council is currently developing information, checklists and guidance packages to assist applicants navigate the planning portal and ePlanning platform.

Manager for Development, Building, and Compliance, Ms Sharon Langman said it was a NSW Government requirement that all NSW Councils use the planning portal from 1 July 2021.

“We have taken steps to go early and be on the front foot with the implementation of ePlanning. The purpose is to allow transparency, tracking, equitability, and faster processing of Development Applications (DA’s).”

“By building the NSW Planning Portal, the ePlanning Program is providing an online environment where people can access planning services and information from anywhere at any time. This is a convenient alternative to paper-based transactions that can only take place during business hours,” Ms Langman added.

The Department of Planning is transforming the way citizens, property developers, local councils and professional bodies apply for and interact with the state planning system. Previously a cumbersome paper-based service often requiring inconvenient face-to-face interactions, the service has been streamlined and moved online. Now customers can access planning services and information from anywhere at any time, increasing connectivity and accessibility while reducing confusion and duplication; simplifying the customer journey for its 2.3 million registered users.

The ePlanning Program is focused on delivering key digital services as part of its commitment to create an end-to-end digital planning service for NSW. It is streamlining and enhancing existing processes in order to improve the planning experience for all stakeholders: community, industry, councils and State government.

Bringing 15 existing systems together into one central platform, ePlanning provides access to real-time data, planning and spatial information.

Elements of ePlanning are: the planning portal, complying development certificate applications, variations to standard development tools, local strategic planning statement forms, online development applications, lodgement, cladding register, concurrence and referral system.

Local development is the most common type of development in NSW, with projects ranging from home extensions to medium-sized commercial, retail and industrial developments.

“It will provide a more consistent process across all of NSW and streamline the process for everyone.  All applications for development, occupations certificates, subdivision certificates, construction certificates, modifications to development consents, complying development certificates can be done anywhere, anytime.  Users can view, manage and track their application via their user dashboard.  They will also be notified when decisions are made, or additional information is required,” Ms Langman said.

The ePlanning portal has been in place for some time and Council encouraged those applying for DA’s during the COVID-19 restrictions on movement to use the portal. CGRC staff will undergo further training and video will be produced to guide applicants through the process.