When a DA is required

A development application is a formal application for permission to carry out a proposed development. Development may include:

  • using land
  • subdividing land
  • erecting a building
  • refurbishment/renovations
  • demolition
  • any other matter or work controlled by an environmental planning instrument (such as a Local Environmental Plan).

Certain work may not require a full development application. Refer to the types of development below for further information.

Exempt Development generally comprises minor renovations and low-impact works, where development consent of Council is not required if your project meets specific criteria. The types of development that are classified as exempt development and the criteria applicable to each development type are largely contained in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and in the Ballina Local Environmental Plan 2012.

If your development is not exempt

If your development does not meet the criteria as an exempt development, you may be able to lodge an application for either a Complying Development Certificate or lodge a Development Application through the NSW Planning Portal.


Complying development is a ‘fast-track’ approval process for smaller scale, low impact residential, commercial and industrial development. As complying development generally includes larger building works than exempt development, an assessment by a building professional (known as a certifying authority) is required. Provided the proposal fully meets specific development standards, it can be determined by a Council or registered certifier without the need for a full development application.

The types of development that are classified as complying development and the criteria applicable to each development type are largely contained in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

There are other State Environmental Planning Policies also contain provisions regarding complying development. Details can be located on the NSW legislation website in relation to these policies.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the proposed development meets all of the Complying Development requirements within the relevant State Environmental Planning Policy. Council and Registered Certifiers have no discretionary authority in relation to complying development.

Building works and/or the use of the development must not be commenced until a Complying Development Certificate has been issued and the relevant conditions complied with. The conditions of approval applied to complying development relate to the protection of surrounding uses during the construction period and the life of the complying development.

Complying Development Certificate Applications are to be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.


A Development Application (or DA) is a formal application for development that requires consent under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), given it does not meet the prescriptive requirements for the smaller scale development types, such as Exempt Development and Complying Development.

A development is considered ‘local development’ if a local environmental plan (LEP) or State environmental planning policy (SEPP) states that development consent is required before the development can take place. The majority of developments will be categorised as Local Development.

The procedures for applying for development consent, the level of environmental assessment required, the notification required, and appeal rights will differ depending on how a development is categorised. These categories include integrated development, designated development and advertised development.

Where building or subdivision works are proposed as part of your DA, you also need to obtain a separate building or subdivision approval by obtaining a Construction Certificate or Subdivision Works Certificate.

Development Applications (and Applications for Construction Certificates or Subdivision Works Certificates) are to be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.


Certain development applications require approval (such as a permit or licence) from a NSW Government agency (also called an approval body) before a determination can be made by the consent authority (i.e. Council). These applications are called integrated development. Council will refer the development application to the necessary approval body so that there is an integrated assessment of the proposal.

Section 4.46 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) contains a list of the integrated development types.

Council must refer the development application to the relevant approval body and incorporate their general terms of approval into any consent granted. Council cannot approve a development application if the approval body recommends refusal.

Integrated development referrals and assessments are carried out through the NSW Planning Portal.


Designated development refers to developments that are high-impact developments (e.g. likely to generate pollution) or are located in or near an environmentally sensitive area (e.g. a wetland).

There are two ways that a development can be categorised as ‘designated development’:

Examples of designated development include chemical factories, large marinas, quarries and sewerage treatment works.

If a development application is categorised as designated development, the application:

  • must be accompanied by an environmental impact statement (EIS)
  • will require public notification for at least 28 days
  • can be the subject of a merits appeal to the Land and Environment Court by objectors.

An EIS for designated development must be prepared in accordance with the Planning Secretary’s requirements. To request the Planning Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs), an applicant must complete Form A.

If you think your development may be designated, please contact Council’s Planning and Environmental Health Division on 1300 864 444.

The consent authority will have to give the public notice of the development application. Advertised development includes:

  • Integrated development, if it requires an approval under the Heritage Act 1977(NSW), the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) or the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) (pollution licence) (called ‘nominated integrated development’)
  • Threatened species development (development affecting threatened species which requires a species impact statement)
  • Class 1 aquaculture development (development that is Class 1 aquaculture under SEPP 62 -Sustainable Aquaculture.

The notification period for advertised development is 14 days, or 28 days for integrated development and threatened species development.

Further information on other development types (such as regional development and state significant development) can be viewed on the NSW Planning Industry and Environment website.

Different rules apply in different parts of the Shire in relation to the removal of trees from private land, depending on the zoning of the land under the applicable local environmental plan.

In general, consent may be required for the removal and pruning of large trees in urban areas.

You should seek advice prior to starting any work on private land that is likely to impact on native or non-native vegetation (including weeds). Please contact Council's Planning and Environmental Health Division for further information on what rules apply to vegetation on your land and whether or not a development permit is required, telephone 1300 864 444.


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Ballina NSW 2478

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