Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP)

Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP)
The Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) is made up of professionals who will determine development applications. Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) The Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) is made up of professionals who will determine development applications.  

What is the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel?

The Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) is made up of professionals who will determine development applications.

Download our informative 'What is the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel?' brochure below for more information.

What is the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel? brochure 

For further information about the IHAP, including function, structure, constituents and more, download the 'Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) Charter' below.

Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) Charter

Why do we have it?

Every aspect of the IHAP is designed to improve transparency, integrity and confidence in our development assessment process.

The IHAP provides us with another level of assessment by experts who are independent of Council.

The IHAP also provides an opportunity for residents and applicants to present their views and / or concerns about a development application.

What involvement do Councillors have?

The Canterbury Bankstown IHAP was established in July 2016. The NSW Government has since amended legislation to make IHAPs mandatory from 1 March 2018.

The introduction of IHAP means that all decisions made in relation to development in Canterbury Bankstown is under delegation by Council Staff, the Sydney Planning Panel or independently by the IHAP. Decisions on development applications are no longer referred to Council for determination.

Under the State Government's IHAP model effective from 1 March 2018, the Panel will include a community representative for each Council ward for the local government area. Community representatives are yet to be appointed. 

What does the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel do?

Functions of the Canterbury Bankstown Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel

The function of the Canterbury Bankstown Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) is to:

  • Determine development applications (and modifications of consent applications) in accordance with its charter.

  • Consider all Planning Proposals and make recommendations as to whether the matter should proceed to a Gateway Determination;

  • Increase transparency and accessibility to development decision making for community and business;

  • Maintain the integrity of development assessment and planning across the Canterbury‐Bankstown area;

  • Provide an independent and open forum for interested persons and the community to make submissions relevant to matters before the IHAP; and 

  • Promote and facilitate growth and positive development outcomes for the benefit of the entire community, while protecting the environment.

What sort of matters will be directed to the IHAP?

Briefings and advice

The Panel may be briefed or requested to provide advice in relation to any development application at any point during the assessment process. Matters referred to the Panel for advice will be at the discretion of the Director Planning. Advice offered by the Panel on a development matter will be considered as part of the ordinary assessment process.

Planning Proposals will also be referred to the Panel for consideration and to provide a recommendation to Council on whether a Planning Proposal should be supported on its merits. The Panel may also recommend changes to a planning proposal for consideration by Council in determining whether to proceed with a planning proposal.


Development applications which meet the following criteria will be referred to IHAP for determination:

  • any applications submitted by a Council officer or a Councillor;

  • any applications submitted by Council itself (except applications that attract no objections and comply with relevant planning controls);

  • applications that cannot be determined by Council Officers under their delegation of authority;

  • applications that are subject to a Voluntary Planning Agreement with Council;

  • applications for review of a development application decision or applications for modification of a consent made by the Panel; and 

  • any application which the Director Planning considered should be determined by the IHAP.

Matters to be determined by the Sydney South Planning Panel will not be provided to the IHAP for its review/advice unless requested by the Director Planning.

How will I know if the matter I'm interested in is going to be directed to the IHAP?

People who have an interest in a particular development application (whether as an applicant or someone who has made a submission) will be notified of its referral to the IHAP and advised that they may make an application to address the Panel about that development application.

The business paper for each month's IHAP meeting will be published, both on our website and in hard copy (available for viewing at our Library and Knowledge Centres, Campsie Customer Service Centre and Bankstown Customer Service Centre) by 5.00pm on the Monday before the IHAP meeting.

Details of items to be considered by the IHAP are also available by calling us on 9707 9000.

What do I need to do to apply to address the IHAP?

First you should read the report going to the IHAP about the matter. If there are particular issues in the report that are important to you, you can apply in writing to address the IHAP.

Written requests can be sent to our Customer Service Centre, PO Box 8, Bankstown 1885, or hand delivered to the customer service department of our Campsie or Bankstown Customer Service Centre. Emails can be sent to Requests should be marked "Request to Address IHAP". Requests should include your name, address, contact telephone number/s, and the item on which you wish you to speak and be received by 12.00 midday on the date of the meeting.

You will be advised of any conditions which may apply to your address to the IHAP. If a number of people have similar views about the same development application, they may be required to appoint a spokesperson to address the IHAP.
To make the most effective use of your allotted time, plan the points you wish to make beforehand and be guided by the Chairperson during the course of the hearing.

If I make a written submission do I have to attend the IHAP?

No. If you wish to make a written submission only, this will be considered by the IHAP. If you do wish to speak about your submission, you should contact our IHAP Administration Officer on 9789 9446.


For more information, or to ask a question, contact Council's IHAP Administration Officer on 9789 9446, or write to Council at PO Box 8, Bankstown 1885.