The approved Sydney Growth Centre Program strategic assessment regulates early development in Western Sydney, NSW. Strategic assessments let us consider impacts to protected matters on a broad scale. Projects or activities covered by an approved strategic assessment don't need individual approval.
Strategic assessments are a collaboration between the Australian Government and an assessment partner. This collaboration allows for a big-picture approach to safeguarding protected matters from the impacts of development over a long time.
The Sydney Growth Centres (NSW) strategic assessment on this page is finalised. This means the Environment minister agreed to areas where development is allowed. The partner must now implement the environmental commitments and conditions, and is restricted to agreed developments in the program.
The partner must also continue to report to the Australian Government until 2041 that the policy's requirements are being implemented.
The Sydney Growth Centres (NSW) strategic assessment supports Sydney's population and development.
In 2016, the population in Western Sydney was forecasted to double by 2056, growing from 740,000 to 1.5 million. The strategic assessment's goal was to provide 181,000 new homes, and support about 500,000 new residents in Sydney's growth centres.
This strategic assessment program:
- ensures well-planned development in Western Sydney
- avoids impact on high-conservation areas
- creates a $530 million conservation fund
- frees up 2,500 ha of land
- creates over $7.5 billion in infrastructure investment.
Streamlining federal and state environmental processes provides certainty for all stakeholders, including:
The strategic assessment also considered the impact of development on a range of listed threatened species and listed ecological communities, including the:
- critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland Shale Gravel Transition Forest
- Shale Sandstone Transition Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion.
The program protects the land and manages biodiversity through several mechanisms.
It also removes the need for individual approvals under the EPBC Act.
Approval of the strategic assessment program:
- ensures that eligible developments in the Sydney growth centres don't need EPBC Act approval
- makes environmental assessment and approval processes more efficient
- removes duplication in decision-making
- maintains high environmental standards.
On 11 November 2009, the NSW and Australian governments agreed to a strategic assessment.
The agreement was signed by:
- the Commonwealth Environment minister
- the NSW Minister for Climate Change and the Environment
- the NSW Minister for Planning.
Terms of reference
The terms of reference for a strategic assessment detail how the strategic assessment partner is to assess the impacts of their proposed development activities.
Public comment on the draft terms of reference closed on 23 December 2009.
Draft terms of reference (PDF 5.05 MB)
Draft terms of reference (DOC 467 KB)
Comments were included in the final terms of reference.
Final terms of reference (PDF 21 KB)
Final terms of reference (DOC 95 KB)
The draft strategic assessment program was also available for public comment from 24 May to 25 June 2010.
The Environment minister endorsed the program on 20 December 2011.
- endorsement notice of the program for the development of the south-west and north-west growth centres in Western Sydney (PDF 209 KB)
- endorsement notice of the program for the development of the south-west and north-west growth centres in Western Sydney (DOC 47 KB)
- Sydney Growth Centres Strategic Assessment Program Report with Addendum (PDF 8.1 MB)
- Sydney Growth Centres Strategic Assessment Program Report with Addendum (DOC 10.8 MB)
On 28 February 2012, the minister approved all actions associated with the development of the Western Sydney Growth Centres. These actions are described in the Sydney Growth Centres Strategic Assessment Program Report, and include:
- Commonwealth Heritage places
- declared World Heritage properties
- declared Ramsar wetlands
- listed threatened species and listed ecological communities
- listed migratory species.
Final approval decision for taking actions associated with development of the Western Sydney Growth Centres (PDF 69 KB)
Final approval decision for taking actions associated with development of the Western Sydney Growth Centres (DOCX 30 KB)
This program is valid until 31 December 2041.
Get in touch
Contact our Referrals Gateway team:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time.