State significant infrastructure
Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), some infrastructure projects can be declared as State significant infrastructure (SSI) if they are important to the State for economic, environmental or social reasons.
Further, some SSI projects can be declared as Critical State significant infrastructure (CSSI) if the Minister for Planning determines they are essential to the State for economic, environmental or social reasons.
The Guideline: Declaration of SSI and CSSI (2021) sets out the general principles and key reasons for the Minister to declare development as SSI or CSSI.
The Department of Planning and Environment (the department) co-ordinates the assessment of all SSI projects under the EP&A Act which involves carrying out all relevant administrative functions, coordinating inputs from State and Commonwealth agencies and working closely with councils to ensure local and regional issues are fully considered.
Community participation is an essential part of this process, and all SSI environmental impact statements are exhibited for at least 28 days.
The department prepares a detailed whole-of-government assessment report on the merits of SSI projects for the approval authority.
Who determines State significant infrastructure applications?
SSI and CSSI projects are assessed under Division 5.2 of the EP&A Act and require the approval of the Minister for Planning before they may proceed.
State Significant Infrastructure Guidelines
The State Significant Infrastructure Guidelines provide a detailed explanation of the SSI process and set out clear expectations about the quality of environmental assessment documentation.
The EP&A Regulation requires certain SSI documents, including environmental impact statements (EISs), amendment applications and modification requests to be prepared having regard to the State Significant Infrastructure Guidelines.
For further information on the guidelines visit the NSW planning website.