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The NSW Government Introduces the Planning Delivery Unit

We sat down with our Director Ian Stewart, to discuss the NSW Government’s ‘Planning Delivery Unit’ which aims to fast-track projects ‘stuck’ in the planning system.

In April 2020, the NSW Government announced plans to fast-track the planning process during the COVID-19 crisis to help keep the economy moving.

This included the introduction of the Planning System Acceleration Program, which seeks to fast-track the assessment of development applications and rezonings.

As part of this work, the NSW Government has also introduced a new ‘Planning Delivery Unit’ to help progress projects which may be currently ‘stuck’ in the planning system.

What is the Planning Delivery Unit?

The NSW Government is establishing a dedicated team within the DPIE to work alongside and consult coordinators in other government agencies, industries, and local councils to resolve delays and issues more effectively within the planning framework.

The Planning Delivery Unit will intervene in locally significant development applications, priority projects including key planning proposals or precincts, and prioritised planning amendments that are being delayed by critical unresolved issues.

It may also become involved with projects that are experiencing delays due to concurrence or referral requests undetermined by a government agency, unresolved council assessment matters preventing determination, or multiple complex or significant environmental issues.

Why has it been established?

The Planning Delivery Unit will work alongside agencies to remove blockages and resolve issues to ensure that decisions on projects can be made more quickly. The team will:

  • Operate a project management service for industry, councils and other government agencies
  • Ensure agency involvement at appropriate levels, particularly focusing advice on relevant issues
  • Ensure appropriate resources to support assessments, fix backlogs and build capacity in councils and agencies including a “flying squad” for councils and dedicated coordinators in agencies
  • Realign agency referral processes in collaboration with councils and agencies to support the continued rollout of ePlanning and ‘back of house’ processes improvements
  • Focus on collaborative whole of government solutions to projects and operationalising the use of the Planning Secretary’s legislative step-in powers when necessary

Our Response

Whilst we support the Planning Delivery Unit concept, we believe that a similar process needs to be adopted by all local Councils to ensure the timely assessment of all development applications and rezonings.

A Planning Delivery Unit solution for individual Councils is essential to help unlock the thousands of smaller development applications that are currently being held up due to a lack of collaboration between all parties involved in the development and rezoning assessments.  This includes the multitude of internal Council staff that have ‘single issue’ input into development applications as well as external government agencies. 

How can Barker Ryan Stewart assist?

Barker Ryan Stewart is well-resourced and positioned to assist in obtaining your fast-tracked development approvals and rezonings.

If you would like to discuss the Planning Delivery Unit further, please contact Ian on 02 4325 5255.

If you have any questions on how we can assist with your fast-tracked development approvals, please don’t hesitate your local Barker Ryan Stewart office or email

  • Sydney – 02 9659 0005
  • Central Coast – 02 4325 5255
  • Hunter – 02 4966 8388
  • South East Queensland – 07 5582 6555
The NSW Government introduces the Planning Delivery Unit

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