4. Standardise the standards


The Parramatta River’s catchment spans 11 local government areas. To create a swimmable river, we need to work together to standardise policies and practices that impact water quality, such as approaches to baseline measurements, installation of rainwater tanks and creation of raingardens.

This project has identified the appropriate policies, planning instruments and sustainable funding mechanisms that will support the goals of the Parramatta River Masterplan.


Establish a whole of catchment land use policy and statutory planning mechanisms. 


By 2021.

Lead Agencies

NSW Department of Planning, Infrastructure & Environment and Sydney Water.

Current Measure

Delivery of recommendations and responsibilities outlined in Recommendations Paper.

Status Update

  • The recommendations paper provides councils with the tools they need to strengthen the wording in LEPs and DCPs to improve outcomes for the Parramatta River catchment. Councils are individually considering how each of these are best implemented locally and the timeframes for any amendments.
  • Sydney Water is now progressing the development of the Blue Green Index project in partnership with a key developer(s). This partnership approach will enable us to understand the practical opportunities and constraints in applying a new stormwater assessment framework to development and ensure it is fit for purpose.
  • Further work will be required with the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) and councils to determine how a future Blue Green Index tool is embedded into policy and planning frameworks.
  • Opportunities to progress the proposed Blue Green Grid framework will be explored in 2023.
Action Responsibility Status
Develop Recommendations Paper Sydney Water Complete
Simple updates to LEPs and DCPs to strengthen waterway health outcomes Councils Each Council is updating their LEP and DCP in line with their individual reporting requirements.
Progress development of a Blue Green Index tool Sydney Water (and DPE)
  • Completed stormwater targets
  • Formalising partnership with developer, Parramatta Council and DPE
Strengthen all planning approval pathways Sydney Water Ongoing – Continue to provide input into new and existing planning policies to strengthen waterway health considerations

Progress Timeline

December 2023 to February 2024

  • Sydney Water held a workshop on 19 October with landowners and developers in the Camellia Rosehill precinct, supported by staff from the City of Parramatta, to gauge broader precinct interest in participating in the Blue Green Index pilot project, rather than working with a single developer.
  • Next steps will include a follow-up workshop to confirm participation in the project and formalise partnership arrangements.
September to November 2023

Some delays in agreeing Blue Green Index workshop date with key developer. Invitations expected to go out before the end of August for a September workshop date.

June to August 2023

Follow-up meeting held with key developer in-Camellia Rosehill precinct to progress Blue Green Index pilot. • Next step is to organise a workshop with other precinct stakeholders to gauge their interest in participating.

March – May 2023

  • DPE provided a list of key stakeholders in the precinct for Sydney Water to approach.
  • Sydney Water met with a key developer in the Camellia-Rosehill precinct in March to discuss the Blue Green Index proposal in detail.
  • Next steps for the project involve setting up a workshop with the broader group of precinct stakeholders to gauge their interest in partnering.
December 2022 – February 2023

  • Ongoing meetings held with City of Parramatta to continue to progress the Blue Green Index project.
  • Council is very supportive of the project and will extend an invitation to further developers in the Camellia-Rosehill precinct to participate in the pilot. DPE to source list of contacts for Sydney Water.
  • Sydney Water to meet regularly with DPE’s Resilient and Urban Sustainability team to seek opportunities for alignment between programs in both organisations.
September – November 2022

  • Ongoing meetings held with City of Parramatta to continue to progress the Blue Green Index project.
  • Macquarie University has been supporting the project in partnership with the City of Ryde, with a PhD student looking at pre and post development greening outcomes on low density residential properties.
June – August 2022

  • Executive level meeting held with major developer in Camellia-Rosehill precinct to determine interest in co-creating Blue Green Index.
  • Ongoing meetings held with City of Parramatta and DPE to continue to progress the Blue Green Index project.
March – May 2022

  • Finalised Jacobs report establishing stormwater requirements for testing in Camellia-Rosehill Precinct. 
  • Meetings held with Dept of Planning and Environment (DPE) and Sydney Water to present Jacobs report findings. 
September 2021 – February 2022

  • Initiated a pilot of the blue-green index tool in Camellia. 
  • Provided comments on draft Design and Place SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy).
June – August 2021

  • Initiated a pilot of the Blue Green Index Tool in the Camellia-Rosehill precinct.
  • Continued discussion with Dept of Planning, Industry and Environment, Greater Sydney Commission and City of Parramatta to progress pilot.
  • Looking for alternate sites to trial tool.
  • Continued work to influence state level SEPPs and strategies under development.
  • Submitted an application for the 2021 Stormwater NSW Excellence Awards in Policy for the Final Recommendations Paper, Strategic and Statutory Planning review to create our living river.
March – May 2021

  • Webinars were held in March and posted online.
  • The Stormwater Australia National Conference included an item on the Blue Green Index Tool.
  • Submitted a response to Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) on the Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for the Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).
  • Continuing discussion with Government Architects and DPIE regarding the Blue Green Index Tool.
  • Have invited members to join two working groups to progress the Blue Green Index Tool and Blue Green Grid Frameworks.
  • Developed material to explain Blue Green Index for senior government ministers.
December 2020 – February 2021

  • Final recommendations paper, Strategic and Statutory Planning review to create our living river has been released with a video: www.ourlivingriver.com.au/planningreform/
  • Webinars scheduled for late March.
September – November 2020

  • Final draft of Planning Reforms to Create Our Living River received.
  • Implementation plan and a paper on funding opportunities developed to support this work.
  • Four technical submissions provided on behalf of PRCG.
  • Met with eight DPIE teams and Government Architect NSW regarding the recommendations paper and opportunities to influence current policy reform.
June – August 2020

  • Draft C of Standardise the Standards recommendations paper distributed to all member councils, council general managers, and member agencies for comment in June/July. More than 250 comments received. Paper is being updated and finalised.
  • Extensive consultation has been undertaken with groups within DPIE to integrate our recommendations into policy.
  • The Delivery Engine was invited to be a member of the Sydney Harbour Coastal Management Program.
March – May 2020

  • Options Paper finalised incorporating feedback.
  • Draft A of recommendations paper received from consultant in April. Draft B is in circulation with Policy Control Group for feedback prior to finalisation in mid-June.
  • Two Masters students from Macquarie University completing a riparian mapping project to support recommendations paper.
December 2019 – February 2020

  • Discussion Paper finalised. We received a number of submissions and feedback was incorporated.
  • Draft options paper developed that sets out other parts of NSW planning framework and how to influence them, such as strategies, SEPPs, VPAs and ministerial directives.
  • Initial meeting held with new DPIE contacts.
September –November 2019

  • Draft discussion paper developed.
  • Workshops held with catchment councils, GSC, DPIE, PRCG and Sydney Water to focus on developing planning controls for waterways and riparian habitats and for WSUD.
June – August 2019

  • Knights McAuley appointed to lead review of catchment policy and planning controls that impact water quality.
  • Workshop held with catchment councils, GSC, DPIE, PRCG and Sydney Water to develop practical recommendations to support councils’ current review of their Local Environment Plans (LEPs) and align with the vision of the Parramatta River Masterplan.
March – May 2019

  • Standard wording developed for councils to include in their Local Strategic Planning Statements (LSPS) that support implementation of the Parramatta River Masterplan.
  • Consultants brief drafted to review planning provisions and provide model clauses that support implementation of the Parramatta River Masterplan.

Useful Links

Step 4. Standardise the Standards – Final Discussion Paper