The Department of Planning and Environment’s compliance team works with communities across NSW to ensure state significant development and state significant infrastructure projects meet the strict conditions included as part of their consent. The compliance team works closely with other government regulators to ensure a whole of government approach. The team uses a risk-based approach to ensure its monitoring activities target projects that are assessed to be of higher risk.
Development consents often require proponents to monitor, audit and report regularly on compliance. The Department then reviews and responds to these reports. Consent conditions may also require proponents to commission independent experts to audit compliance, assess and recommend improvements to environmental performance.
The Department’s compliance team does not:
The compliance team works closely with the community, local councils and other state and federal government agencies to monitor state significant development and infrastructure projects, investigate potential breaches and carry out enforcement where necessary.
Our officers work with communities and industry across NSW to ensure that development benefits NSW while providing protecting residents and the environment.
The onus of ensuring compliance with all conditions of consent is on the proponent or the person carrying out the development.
The compliance team plays an important role in educating proponents, the community and other stakeholders about the Department’s compliance functions.
Education sessions allow the Department to reinforce expectations, better understand industry-specific issues, the systems used to ensure compliance, listen to community concerns, provide feedback on sector or company performance and promote best practice across all industry sectors.
In order to ensure proponents are complying with their strict conditions of consent the compliance team:
When the Department receives information about a suspected breach, it will conduct an analysis of all available information. This analysis may be followed up with an inspection or a request to the proponent for more information.
Officers can use their formal investigative powers to gather evidence relevant to the investigations, request information or conduct formal interviews. This preliminary assessment may provide enough information to establish whether a breach has occurred, or is likely to have occurred.
Based on that information, the Department may choose to proceed with an enforcement response or determine no response is required.
Where a breach is identified, the Department will consider the relevant information and decide on any enforcement action consistent with the Compliance Policy. Natural justice, also known as procedural fairness, is a fundamental principle considered by the Department.
Factors to determine the significance of the breach are the degree of harm and the culpability of the offender. The degree of harm includes the potential for harm and the impact on the integrity of the planning system. Culpability includes performance history and motivation.
Suspected breaches will then be classified as low, medium or high. Enforcement options are then considered.
The community has a right to expect that a development is conducted in accordance with the conditions of consent.
The community plays a significant role in assisting the Department’s compliance team undertake its functions. If you suspect a development is breaching its conditions of consent you can contact us and we will conduct an investigation. You can report suspected breaches by filling in the online form here. You can also contact the compliance team by calling Department on 1300 305 695 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department regularly publishes reports on its activities. You can sign up for our monthly report by emailing email@example.com.
It is important that people who make complaints regarding alleged non compliance with conditions of consent understand what they can expect from the Department in dealing with their compliant in addition to understanding what the Department expects from them.
The responsibilities of a complainant includes:
Once a complaint is received, the Department will commence an investigation and contact the complainant within 14 days to seek further information or to provide an update on progress.
The length of time a complaint will take to investigate will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the complaint. Some complaints can be investigated quickly while others will require more detailed investigation and can take up to 12 months to conclude. The Department will endeavour to provide updates to the complainant as the matter progresses.
Common non compliances by proponents (where either penalty notices or prosecution may be considered) include:
Departmental investigation officers have a number of powers to conduct site inspections and audits on a proactive basis - or to investigate issue-specific potential breaches of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. All investigation officers also receive specialised training regarding their duties and obligations under the relevant legislation.
Our officers work across NSW to ensure that state significant developments and infrastructure projects comply with their conditions of consent.
Compliance officers are located in Sydney, Wollongong, Queanbeyan and Singleton:
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Page last updated: 25/05/2018