NSW Has A New DA Process

Reno Small

From 1 January 2021 Forbes Shire Council along with all NSW Councils are moving towards only accepting DA’s via the NSW Planning Portal.

The portal enables applicants to submit a Development application 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at a time that is convenient to the applicant. 

“The new system enables applicants to check the progress of the DA at any time online,” say Forbes Shire Council Mayor Phyllis Miller OAM. “There will be no manual way to submit a DA – it will all be via this portal.” 

“There is a great help line aspect to the portal at https://pp.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/contact-us that people should use first and if they are still having trouble they can then come to council, the staff can help if people are finding it difficult,” says Mayor Miller. “Responses to questions lodged in the portal are very quick – you will have an answer back within 24 hours.”

“Council can assist you with all of your building and planning approval needs – if you are starting a project and are unsure of what you need to do please make sure to take the first step of booking a “pre lodgment “ meeting so that we can get you started,” Mayor Miller advises. “It might be easier than you think – as some projects don’t need complex approvals, just to adhere to standards. This could be the case if you are say installing advertising signage, changing the use of a building or running some businesses from home.”

DA’s are required for projects such as; running a bed and breakfast or food manufacturing business from home, some fire safety works or building a new home on a green field site.

“Many home alterations and additions can be done without having to go through a complicated approval process,” Mayor Miller explains. “There can be communication issues you need to deal with when planning your development. Talk to your neighbors about your development as this can be a great first step in making sure that it all goes smoothly.”

Heritage buildings, either business or residential may need extra approvals before any renovation work can begin.

“The planning portal has this information,” Mayor Miller says. “Heritage is important to the value of the building and we need to ensure any work done doesn’t take away from that.”

How DAs are assessed

When Council staff or an independent group is assessing a DA, they will:

 Compare what is proposed to the relevant Planning and Development Policies

• Take into account any objections and comments made during the notification period

 Look at the environmental impacts of the development, and whether or not it is in the public interest

  Consider recommendations made by the Design Review Panel (if applicable)

•Get advice from other experts, if needed. For example, a DA for a building on flood-prone land might be referred to one of Council’s floodplain engineers for advice. In some cases, an application could also be sent to State Government departments for their comments or approval.

 The people assessing an application will also often inspect the site of the proposed development.


The decision to approve or refuse a DA is called a determination.

A formal Notice of Determination will come to applicants via the portal once a decision is made.

Recent decisions can be found on Council’s website and in their weekly advertisement in the local papers.

Development applications will incur a fee – council will be in contact after receiving your DA through the Planning Portal, to arrange payment of this fee via direct debit.

“Council has a Contribution Levy for DAs that goes back into town upgrades - so you can feel that your project is really contributing to the growth of our town,” says Mayor Miller. “Forbes is a go ahead shire with lots of development happening – your project is contributing nicely to the growth of our shire.”

For further information please contact Forbes Shire Council planning staff on (02) 6850 2300.