Councils in regional areas will benefit from $4.8 million in ePlanning grants to help them process development applications online.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said each of the 96 regional councils will receive $50,000 under the Regional NSW Planning Portal Grant program to assist them transition to the digital ePlanning system.

“Our ePlanning platform offers an online tool where people can access planning services and lodge and track the progress of applications from anywhere, at any time,” he said.

“We need to help councils update their processes in line with community expectations. Most things are done digitally now – the days of paper-based transactions that can only take place during business hours are behind us.

“But we understand this sort of transition takes time and requires investment, which is why we are giving councils in the regions $50,000 to do so.”

Minister for Digital Victor Dominello said the grants were win-win for both regional councils and citizens.

“Since its launch, ePlanning has already proven it is faster, more accurate and offers greater transparency and convenience for the people of NSW,” he said.

Minister Shelley Hancock said the grants are a fantastic demonstration of support for regional areas and will help councils improve their service to communities.

“Whether upgrading or replacing IT systems and software, learning how to use the platform, or providing support to their residents, these grants will make it easier for councils to get online,” she said.

All NSW councils are required to be using the NSW Planning Portal to lodge development applications and complying development certificates by 1 July 2021, in line with the Premier’s 2019 mandate.

The NSW Planning Portal’s Open Data section provides links to a broad range of planning data. From Environmental Planning Instruments, such as State Environmental Planning Polices, to Local Development Performance Monitors, there is a wealth of information available in a variety of formats that is easy to search and download.

Key datasets are stored with supporting documents – simply type in the relevant keyword you are searching for and the appropriate dataset will be provided.