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Norman Waterhouse

Phase 2 Councils: Are you PDI Act ready?

31 July 2020 is the date for Phase 2 councils to ‘switch’ to development assessment under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act). On and from the ‘switch on’ date:

  • new development applications will be processed under the PDI Act and the Planning and Design Code (Code) by the relevant authorities designated under that Act; and
  • existing yet to be determined development applications will continue to be processed under the Development Act 1993 and the applicable Development Plan, with the council remaining the relevant authority (although decision notification forms and conditions will be imposed under the PDI Act).

To ensure Phase 2 councils are PDI Act ready, the following checklist sets out some of the key matters for councils to finalise in the lead up to 31 July:

  • Delegations:
    • Has the Council delegated its powers and functions under the PDI Act and Regulations to the CEO (LGA instruments of delegation A and B)? Has the CEO sub-delegated these powers and functions to staff?
    • Has the Assessment Panel delegated its powers and functions under the PDI Act and Regulations (LGA instrument of delegation C)? If these delegations are to the Assessment Manager, has he or she sub-delegated to staff?
    • Has the Assessment Manager delegated his or her powers and functions under the PDI Act and Regulations to staff (LGA instrument of delegation D)?
    • Have staff been made aware of the delegations and sub-delegations which apply to their positions?
    • Have the Assessment Panel and the Assessment Manager determined how decision-making will take place regarding the running and resolution of reviews and appeals against their decisions?
  • Forms and letters: Have staff reviewed and updated standard forms, notices and letters to reference the PDI Act?
  • Conditions: Have staff reviewed Council’s standard conditions against any changes to policy between the Development Plan and the Code (bearing in mind that, to be valid, conditions imposed on DAs assessed under the Code should reflect a relevant provision of the Code)?
  • Accreditation: Have the following individuals obtained the necessary accreditation under the PDI Act:
    • Assessment Manager: Planning – Level 1
    • Panel members (except Elected Member or former Elected Member of Council): Planning – Level 2
    • Building officers undertaking inspections: Building – Level 1 – 4
    • Building officers with delegated authority to grant building consents (council must seek and consider the advice of an accredited professional who would be qualified to give building consent in their own right): Building – Level 1 – 3, as appropriate
  • Public notification:
    • Has Council determined which staff will be responsible for placing and removing signs from land, where requested by an applicant?
    • Has Council determined whether it will print signs itself, or has it entered into a contract with a third party?
  • Time to make decisions: Have procedures been put in place to ensure relevant authorities (and their delegates) for planning consent are aware of the time within which applications for planning consent must be determined, to avoid the possibility of a deemed consent notice being issued?
  • Familiarity with Portal and Code: Are all relevant individuals, including planning, building and customer service staff familiar with the incoming changes, including e-lodgement and how to access relevant information from the Code? To whom will enquiries from residents be directed?

We understand that this period of transition is a stressful one for councils and staff. The team at Normans is available at all times to assist councils with transition queries big or small, to ensure that all councils are PDI Act ready.

Normans have also partnered with the LGA to deliver two PDI Act training sessions in July in preparation for Phase 2 commencement. We are also available on request, to run personalised sessions for Council and Regional Assessment Panels. For further information on these sessions, please contact Joanna Clare or to register, click here.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Joanna Clare on +61 8 8217 1368 or


16 June 2020



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