Exempt development is development that has minimal impact on the local environment and does not require approval from Council. The below steps may assist you in determining whether your proposed development is exempt.
Step 1: Comply with development standards for specified development
To assist you in determining if your development is exempt you will need to know the zoning of your land. You can obtain this information in a Planning Certificate or from the NSW Planning Portal.
The Department of Planning and Environment exhibited the translation of existing Business and Industrial zones into the new Employment zones from 31 May to 12 July 2022. To view the detail please visit the Department’s Planning Portal. Employment zones will be in place within individual LEPs by 1 December 2022 when the existing Business and Industrial zones will be repealed. Further information is available on the Department's website.
As of 1 December 2021, a reference to an Environment Protection zone E1, E2, E3 or E4 in a document should be taken to be a reference to a Conservation zone C1, C2, C3 or C4. For further information please see, Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Amendment (Land Use Zones) Order 2021.
Additional information and a 'Frequently Asked Questions' Fact Sheet is available on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.
Review Development Schedules
There are several pieces of legislation that contain provisions that can enable exempt development. They include:
The majority of permissible exempt development is captured in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) Codes. If the type of development you wish to carry out is not listed in Part 2 of the SEPP, proceed to the other documents to determine if you meet the exempt criteria.
The developments types referred to in the SEPP include:
- Access ramps
- Aerials and antennae
- Air-conditioning units
- Animal shelters
- Automatic teller machines
- Awnings, blinds and canopies
- Balconies, decks, patios, pergolas, terraces and verandahs
- Barbecues and other outdoor cooking structures
- Cabanas, cubby houses, ferneries, garden sheds, gazebos and greenhouses
- Change of use of premises
- Change of use of places of public worship
- Charity bins and recycling bins
- Clothes hoist and clothes lines
- Container recycling equipment
- Demolition (it is recommended that you refer to Council’s web pages for information on Asbestos removal)
- Driveways and hard stand spaces
- Earthworks and retaining walls and structural support
- Emergency work and temporary repairs
- Evaporating cooling units (roof mounted)
- Farm buildings (other than stock holding yards, grain silos and grain bunkers)
- Fences (certain residential zones and Zone RU5)
- Fences for swimming pools (certain residential zones and Zone RU5)
- Fences (certain rural zones, environment protection zones and Zone R5)
- Fences (business and industrial zones)
- Footpaths—outdoor dining
- Fowl and poultry houses
- Fuel tanks and gas storage
- Garbage bin storage enclosure
- Grain Silos and grain bunkers
- Home businesses, home industries and home occupations
- Hot water systems
- Landscaping structures
- Maintenance of buildings in draft heritage conservation areas
- Minor building alterations (internal)
- Minor building alterations (external)
- Mobile food and drink outlets
- Outdoor dining - general: these provisions will not apply after 18 April 2022 and land owners consent is still required to use the land for outdoor dining.
- Outdoor dining - registered clubs: these provisions will not apply after 18 April 2022 and land owners consent is still required to use the land for outdoor dining.
- Pathways and paving
- Playground equipment
- Portable swimming pools and spas and child-resistant barriers
- Privacy screens
- Rainwater tanks (above ground)
- Rainwater tanks (below ground)
- Roller shutter doors adjoining lanes
- Screen enclosures (of balconies, decks, patios, pergolas, terraces and verandahs)
- Sculptures and artworks
- Shade structures of canvas, fabric, mesh or the like
- Shipping containers (temporary installation and use for storage purposes following a bush fire)
- Shipping containers and portable offices (temporary installation and use for existing commercial and industrial purposes)
- Skylights, roof windows and ventilators
- Street library
- Stock holding yards not used for sale of stock
- Tennis courts
- Waste storage containers
- Water features and ponds
- Waterways structures—minor alterations
The State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 also allows for the provision of infrastructure and service facilities to be undertaken without development consent. These developments include educational establishments, emergency services facilities and port facilities.
The Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 provides exempt criteria for the following types of development:
- Cemeteries and burial grounds
- Clearing of native vegetation planted for commercial purposes
- Temporary promotional banners
A complying development application can be lodged with City of Newcastle for the works or the removal or trees on private property. Where a tree is located within a heritage conservation area or a site that contains a heritage item a Heritage Notification Form should be completed.
Step 2: Comply with general and land based criteria for exempt development
If the development is to be carried out under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) Codes the relevant sections are:
- Clause 1.15 What development is exempt development?
- Clause 1.16 General requirements for exempt development.
- Clause 1.19 Land on which exempt and complying development may not be carried out.
Step 3: Comply with common law and other legislative requirements
In addition to the requirements specified for development under this code, adjoining owners’ property rights, the applicable common law and other legislative requirements for approvals, licences, permits and authorities still apply. For example, requirements relevant to development in this code may be contained in the Act, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000
, various State environmental planning policies, the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
, the Roads Act 1993,
the Swimming Pools Act 1992
and Acts applying to various infrastructure authorities.
If the development is in proximity to infrastructure, including water, stormwater and sewer mains, electricity power lines and telecommunications facilities, the relevant infrastructure authority should be contacted before commencing the development.
It is recommended that you contact any relevant authority to determine any requirements. For example, if land on which you intend to develop is located in a Mine Subsidence District, you may need to have the plans stamped by the Subsidence Advisory NSW. A list of deemed approvals
(i.e. that do not need referral to the Subsidence Advisory NSW) are available from the Subsidence Advisory NSW.
The legislative requirements specifically highlight the adjoining owners property rights and the need to comply with common law and other legislative requirements.
Please note: The information contained above is not legal advice. It is to assist you in planning decisions. City of Newcastle recommends you seek professional advice and refer to relevant legislation.
Further Information: Contact CN's Duty Officer on 02 4974 2000.