Development applications

In the same way as a local council is the consent authority for most land-based development, Transport for NSW is the consent authority for most water-based development within Sydney Harbour including jetties, wharves, boat lifts, slipways, pontoons, mooring pens and the like, but excluding commercial marinas.


To obtain development consent for these structures you must lodge a development application (DA) with Transport for NSW. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 prescribes that the consent of the land owner is required in order to lodge a development application. Transport for NSW’s requirements for obtaining its Land Owner’s consent to lodge development applications for developments on Sydney Harbour are outlined in its Permission to Lodge fact sheet.

We encourage all prospective applicants to first discuss their DA with our officers before lodging it. This is a free service and can be helpful in identifying potential issues with the DA before plans and accompanying documentation are finalised.

You may have also received an offer for a new 20 year lease from the Transport for NSW Property Management team. This letter of offer also usually includes land owner’s consent for the lodgement of a DA. This is because, prior to entering into a long term lease with Transport for NSW that is greater than 5 years, a DA for subdivision must first be lodged with and approved by Transport for NSW.

Additional useful information for development applications

Fees for development applications are charged in accordance with Part 15, Division 1 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations (2000).

Note that larger scale development such as commercial marinas are generally determined by the local council or a Joint Regional Planning Panel.

For assistance regarding fees, the application process, or if you are unsure where to lodge the DA please contact our planning staff at

More information on zoning and development controls applicable to Sydney Harbour is available from the Department of Planning and Environment:

Amendment of Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005

On 14 December 2018, the Department of Planning and Environment introduced amendments to Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005. 

The Department of Planning and Environment have advised that the amednments:

  • Simplify the rules about repairing and maintaining structures such as mooring pens to encourage safer boating and better quality structures;
  • Encourage a higher grade of private moorings and other ageing water infrastructure, which is safer and better for the marine environment; and
  • Allow for the adoption of new and emerging boat storage technologies to help reduce maintenance costs for boat owners. 

View or download the relevant amendments.

Further details can be found on the Department of Planning and Environment’s website.

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