A number of amendments have been proposed to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (EPA Act) to improve the current NSW planning system. The legislative updates will aim to ensure that 90% of housing approvals are processed within 40 days for local development for which the council is the planning authority. This will be achieved by encouraging early consultation with neighbours, improving efficiency and transparency of the approval process through a new electronic system on the NSW Planning Portal and preventing the modification of a consent where works have already been carried out.

The Act will be amended to prevent planning authorities and courts from approving a modification where the works have already been completed, except for limited circumstances such as to correct a minor error or miscalculation. Unauthorised works may be subject to enforcement action such as demolition, or require a new building certificate.

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