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The New South Wales Department of Planning (DOP) is a department of the Government of New South Wales with responsibility for the administration of the state's planning system and the assessment of major development applications. The Department is also responsible for the co-ordination of land releases for new housing stock and local government adherence to State planning law in determining development and rezoning applications.

The Department's powers are drawn from the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.


The Department reports to New South Wales Minister for Planning Kristina Keneally. The head of the Department is its Director-General, Sam Haddad.


In May 2009, the Department established three divisions focussing on key activities in planning – land release, urban renewal and major project assessment. A fourth division focuses on corporate governance and policy development.The following executive team has been selected to operate from May 18, 2009:

Deputy Directors-General

  • Plan Making & Urban Renewal – Tom Gellibrand (previously Deputy General Manager Strategy at the Growth Centres Commission)
  • Development Assessments – Richard Pearson (previously Department of Planning Rural and Regional Planning Executive Director)
  • Strategies and Land Release – Ian Reynolds (previously General Manager Operations at the Growth Centres Commission)

Executive Directors

  • Corporate Governance & Policy – Donna Rygate (previously Deputy Director-General Strategy, Communications and Governance at the Department of Community Services)
  • Strategy & Infrastructure Planning – Andrew Jackson (previously Principal Advisor, Urban Planning at NSW Treasury)
  • Land Release – Robert Black (previously Deputy General Manager Land Release at the Growth Centres Commission)
  • Planning Operations – Neil McGaffin (previously Department of Planning Southern Region Regional Director)
  • Urban Renewal & Major Sites – Giovanni Cirillo (previously Director City Planning and Regulatory Services at the City of Sydney Council)
  • Major DA Assessment – Chris Wilson (previously Department of Planning Major Projects Assessments Executive Director)
  • Assessments Systems, General Counsel – Marcus Ray (previously Department of Planning Legal Services Director)


The executive team will focus on the following priorities:

  • Promoting and facilitating sustainable growth
  • Supporting affordable and appropriately-serviced housing and employment land
  • Assessing major projects and infrastructure in a timely and efficient way, while ensuring appropriate planning outcomes
  • Planning to help mitigate against climate change
  • Improving service delivery to our communities and our stakeholders
  • Implementing reforms to create a more efficient, transparent and accountable planning system and importantly, the communication of these reforms.

The department employs over 200 staff.

Ancillary functions

In addition to its core planning responsibilities, the Department administers a number of State Government programs and properties including:
  • BASIX - an energy and water savings scheme for new housing stock;

  • the Callan Park (Special Provisions) Act 2005 - determining conditions for future development at Callan Parkmarker in inner Sydney;

  • Smoke alarms - State laws mandating the installation of smoke alarms in all NSW homes.


The Department was established in October 2005 when the former Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR) was disamalgamated.


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