Willowtree Planning has been assisting various clients in obtaining Industry-specific Secretary’s Environment Assessment Requirements (SEARs), since the inception of the Rapid Assessment Framework in early October. To date, we have obtained Industry-specific SEARs for hospital, school and warehouse and distribution centre projects. After some initial delays early on in their release, we have been able to receive most of these within the 7 day period. It is great to see these changes from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment assisting in a more efficient State Significant Development (SSD) process up front. With these SEARs being industry-specific (i.e. not site specific), DPIE is unable to vary the requirements from the standardised content. However, we are currently working through some matters that may seek to justify alternative solutions to some requirements; it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
We’re keen to see how the assessment process progresses and will be sure to report back with any findings on the clarity, consistency and certainty of assessment requirements.