In 2005, the EPA Act was amended to replace the former category of State significant development with a new category called "Part 3A Major projects".
The Part 3A major project amendments were introduced by:
Inserting a new Part 3A into the EPA Act (which sets out the process for approving a Part 3A project),2 and SEPP (Major Projects) 2005, (which specifies which projects fall within the Part 3A category).3 All major projects, which include a sub-category of critical infrastructure projects, are now assessed and approved under these Part 3A provisions, rather than under Part 4 or Part 5 of the EPA Act. The Planning Minister is the consent authority for all major projects and critical infrastructure.
The main effect of the Part 3A amendments has been to remove many major projects from assessment and approval under the Part 4 development consent process and Part 5 activity assessment process, and to give control of these projects to the Planning Minister.
Useful web links
Part 3A projects are approved by the Planning Minister, and administered by the Department of Planning:
http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/assessingdev/index. takes you to the NSW Department of Planning's website on Part 3A Projects, which includes a series of fact sheets on Part 3A projects.
What is a Part 3A project?
Part 3A projects are developments that, in the opinion of the Planning Minister, are of State or regional environmental planning significance, or for which an EIS under Part 5 would have been required.1 In practice, Part 3A projects are usually large government infrastructure projects, such as roads, pipelines, desalination plants and dams, but can also include large private developments which are not carried out by a public authority.
Once a project falls within the category of a Part 3A project, then the assessment and approval process under Part 4 or Part 5 of the EPA Act cease to apply and is replaced by the Part 3A process.
How are Part 3A projects identified?
The EPA Act itself does not state which kinds of projects are covered by Part 3A. Rather, Part 3A projects are identified in:
SEPP (Major Projects) 2005, or
can be declared by Ministerial Order (of the Planning Minister).
Either individual projects, or categories of projects, can be declared to be Part 3A projects under a SEPP or an order. Ministerial Orders declaring Part 3A to apply to a project are published in the NSW Government Gazette.
View the Department of Planning's Fact Sheet on "What is considered a major project"
SEPP (Major Projects) 2005
SEPP (Major Projects) 2005 identifies developments which are to be treated as Part 3A projects.
Schedule 1 of the SEPP provides a list of the types (or classes) of development which can be considered to be major projects.
* Intensive livestock industries that employ 20 people or more
* coal mining and sand mining developments
* extractive industries taking more than 200,000 tonnes per year
* certain marina facilities
* sewage and waste water treatment plants for more than 10,000 people
* pipelines, and
*remediation of some contaminated site.
If the Planning Minister is of the opinion that a particular project falls within one of these categories, and meets any specified thresholds, then the Minister can declare it to be a Part 3A project.
Schedule 2 of the SEPP lists specific sites (rather than general categories) which can be considered to be Part 3A projects. This list includes things such as high-impact developments (landfill, mining, marinas, subdivisions etc) within the coastal zone, certain industrial developments at Kurnell, and developments on Sydney Harbour Foreshore sites.
As with Schedule 1, if the Planning Minister is of the opinion that a particular development falls within one of the definitions in Schedule 2, then it can be declared to be a Part 3A Major project.
All detail are providede by EDO http://www.edo.org.au/
The Environmental Defender's Office Ltd, (EDO), is a not-for-profit community legal centre specialising in public interest environmental law. We help individuals and community groups who are working to protect the natural and built environment.