Development applications


In the same way as a local council is the consent authority for most land-based development, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) is the consent authority for most water-based development within Sydney Harbour including:

  • jetties
  • wharves
  • boat lifts
  • slipways
  • pontoons
  • mooring pens and the like.

Commercial marinas are excluded.


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.

TfNSW's requirements for obtaining its land owner’s consent to lodge development applications on Sydney Harbour are outlined in the 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 TfNSW 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 TfNSW that is greater than 5 years, a DA for subdivision must first be lodged with and approved by TfNSW.

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:

Development outside of Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay, Newcastle Harbour and Port Kembla Harbour

For any development that is proposed on land outside of Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay, Newcastle Harbour and Port Kembla Harbour that may affect:

  • navigation, or is
  • on or near a waterway

the applicant will need to seek navigation safety advice from TfNSW.

This process will assist some of the design considerations for the development and should be sought early in the design and planning stages.

If you wish to:

  • discuss your application
  • organise a time to discuss your proposal in person at either our Rozelle or Parramatta offices, or
  • you require any further information.

Please contact the Property, Strategy & Planning Branch at

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 amendments:

  • 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.
  • Allow for the adoption of new and emerging boat storage technologies to help reduce maintenance costs for boat owners.

You can view or download the relevant amendments.

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

Transport for NSW now offers a Pre-DA meeting service

For advice on lodging development applications seeking approval for water based developments, you can arrange a pre-DA meeting with one of our Maritime planners.

Pre-DA meetings are provided free of charge.

The aim of the meeting will be to identify potential issues and provide preliminary feedback at an early stage that can be addressed by the applicant before the formal DA is lodged. This will help to expedite the assessment process once the application has been lodged.

The feedback provided in the meeting does not constitute formal advice and TfNSW is not bound to the feedback provided.

Pre-DA meetings can be requested through Maritime Planning.

TfNSW is making a number of changes to how we continue to provide services to the residents of NSW in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the time being, please continue to use our 10 to 8 online portal to book Pre-DA meetings, however, in accordance with new interaction guidelines one of our planners will then make contact with you and arrange for the meeting to be conducted by telephone.

We note official advice on interactions are evolving on a regular basis and we will notify you of any changes to our policies as quickly as is possible.

View the current NSW Guidelines.

If you have any concerns regarding your application or the application process in general, please contact