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Development Assessment - UTS Open
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Development Assessment



11 September


Mixed (online and in-person)


5 wks


5 x 8 hrs

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Lead Presenters

Danny Wiggins

Danny Wiggins
Director, Danny Wiggins (Planning, Facilitation and Education Services)

Danny has been a town planning consultant for 30 years, specialising in statutory planning systems and local planning controls. He has worked at all three levels of government and for a range of private sector clients. Examples of his work include external reviews of local council development assessment (DA) systems, advice to the State Government on DA items (and training), facilitating the IP&R framework at a range of local councils, authorship of the DUAP publication “Guiding Development: better outcomes”, and work with the Heart Foundation/ Premier’s Council for Active Living and the UNSW Healthy Built Environments Program (HBEP) on supportive environments for community health and well-being. As well as consultancy work, Danny is also an experienced educator and facilitator, having been involved in the preparation and delivery of education and training packages for a variety of State and Local Government agencies and Universities. He has an honours degree in Town Planning and a PhD in residential location theory.

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Luke Murtas

Luke Murtas
Town Planner

Luke Murtas is a town planner and lawyer who has worked for local and state government in NSW and the UK, and is currently Manager, Development Assessment at Sydney's Inner West Council.

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Alison McCabe

Alison McCabe
Director, Planning, SJB

Alison has over 35 years of experience in statutory and strategic planning for state and local government and private practice. In conjunction with Stuart McDonald, Alison started SJB Planning NSW in 2005. Prior to this, she was Director of Environmental and Community Management for Leichhardt Council. Alison is experienced in all facets of urban and regional planning, including local government administration and statutory processes, policy development, public participation, appeals and conflict resolution. She holds a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of New England; and a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law, Sydney University and has lectured on planning at Sydney’s University of Technology.

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Jonathan Knapp

Jonathan Knapp
Director, Urban Design, SJB

Director and founder of SJB Urban in Sydney, Jonathan’s background in urban design, architecture and planning informs his interest in finding robust solutions to urban problems through a responsive, collaborative design process. His experience spans complex large-scale master plans, strategic plans and frameworks, built form studies and policy guidelines, to planning proposals and development guidance and advice. With a focus on urban renewal and regeneration projects, mixed-use schemes and transit-oriented development, Jonathan is committed to shaping vibrant cities through place-based design outcomes and planning approaches that balance the needs of today with the capacity for future growth. His commitment to sharing and debating ideas is reflected in his lecturing at UNSW, University of Sydney, UTS and the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA).

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Joshua Palmer

Joshua Palmer
Partner, Pikes and Verekers Lawyers

Joshua has extensive experience in local government and planning and environmental law, regularly acting for local government, private developers and accredited certifier clients in both Class 1 and Class 4 of the Land and Environment Court’s jurisdiction. His experience enables him to adopt a whole-of-matter approach that allows for creative yet simple solutions to complex problems. An important part of Pikes & Verekers' Planning & Environment team, Joshua works closely with local government clients. He is an excellent communicator who advises on construction and interpretation of planning instruments and Development Control Plans, existing use rights, development contributions, construction of development consents and commencement of development. His understanding of local government and planning and environmental law allows for creative legal solutions to otherwise intractable problems. Joshua also has extensive experience in development applications including Part 3A approvals, planning proposals and development benefited by voluntary planning agreement.

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This short course outlines the basic building blocks of the development assessment process and the planning principles that underpin good practice.

About this course

Development assessment is one of the most high-profile and resource-heavy activities in the local government sector. This short course will equip you with a fundamental understanding of the development assessment process and related planning principles.

Ii this Development Assessment course you’ll also learn to balance planning law and policy considerations with local strategic planning and urban design outcomes – essential knowledge and skills for effective professional practice.

Course structure

Designed for planning professionals, such as engineers, building surveyors, planners and environmental officers who work with urban planners as well as support staff and those relatively new to the field of development assessment, this development assessment course outlines the basic building blocks of development assessment process and the planning principles the underpin good practice. Designed to complement experience at work and on-the-job training this course provides essential knowledge and skills for effective professional practice, balancing planning law and policy with local strategic planning and urban design outcomes.

This course can be delivery as an advanced course for senior development assessment and planning officials and customised for in-house training for organisations.

Session 1

  • Introduction to development assessment.
  • The role of the Development Assessment (DA) Planner.
  • Strategic Framework, state and regional planning.
  • Local Environmental Planning in NSW.
  • Local Environmental Plans and Development Control Plans.

Session 2

  • Development assessment fundamentals.
  • The development assessment framework.
  • Steps in the development assessment process.
  • Case studies of the range of development types and scales.

Session 3

  • Development Assessment (DA) in practice.
  • Professional Practice.
  • Specialist input to the DA process.
  • Assessment and weighing decisions.

Session 4

  • Development Assessment field trip and best practice case studies/workshop.
  • Urban design basics.

Session 5

  • Decision-making and Appeal Systems.
    • Land and Environment Court.
    • How Planning Panels operate: Panel Report Workshop.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand how the NSW strategic planning and development assessment systems operate.
  • Understand the significance of the legal frameworks on which planning is based.
  • Be equipped to analyse planning instruments such Local Environmental Plans (LEP) and State Environmental Planning (SEP) Policies, and the accompanying Development Control Plans.
  • Understand how Development Applications (DAs) are processed, including legal requirements, determining key issues and impacts, stakeholder views, weighting of issues and applying conditions of consent.
  • Be aware of key examples and worked case studies, considering assessment matters, conflict resolution and negotiation skills.
  • Understand the sources of conflict, approaches for dispute resolution; and the role of the Land and Environment Court (including procedures, planning principles and case law).


Full price: $2,990 (GST-free)*

*Price subject to change. Please check price at time of purchase. 

Delivery style

This development assessment course will be offered in a mixed mode format consisting of online delivery via a live zoom video link and face-to-face teaching on UTS campus. Location details and teaching materials will be made available to participants prior to the course.

Block one will be offered online via a live Zoom video link and block two will be delivered face-to-face on UTS campus. On day four, participants will be accompanied by our presenter(s) on a site visit. Location details will be released in the lead up to the commencement date.

In-house training solutions

This development assessment course can also be customised or delivered in-house.

Enrolment conditions

Course purchase is subject to UTS Open Terms and Conditions. 

COVID-19 information

UTS is undertaking a number of social distancing initiatives, as informed by NSW Health advice, to help reduce social interactions in support of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of this response, some of our short courses may be postponed to a later date.

Please note however, bookings are open for all courses offered by the Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG). If a course needs to be postponed, participants will have the chance to transfer to a later date, a new course or request a full refund. IPPG will also be offering a range of online or blended learning options facilitated via zoom video conferencing. If you have any questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to contact our team at ippg.learning@uts.edu.au

Who is this course for?

The course has been designed for planning professionals who are looking to further develop their knowledge of the development assessment process including, but not limited to engineers, building surveyors, planners, support staff and those relatively new to the field of development assessment.

Book a session

Mon 11 Sep 2023 -
Tue 10 Oct 2023
Expert: Danny Wiggins, Luke Murtas, Alison McCabe, Jonathan Knapp, Joshua Palmer
  • This course will be delivered online via Zoom for the first week and on campus during the second week.
  • Mixed (online and in-person)
  • 5 sessions, 40 hours total
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Acknowledgement of Country

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.