Development Control Orders issued by Council


Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), authorised Council Officers have the power to issue a range of compliance orders on developers and property owners/occupiers. There are usually tight (often unrealistic) compliance periods for these types of orders.

There are notice of intention requirements to give an order under the EP&A Act for everything except emergency orders (risk of public safety). Councils have to consider any submissions on the Notice of Intention, before exercising their discretion to issue any final Order.

The Notice of Intention to Give an Order – is an opportunity to get the matter resolved before it proceeds too far down the compliance/enforcement pathway.

Unlike a Penalty Notice which imposes a coercive monetary penalty in order to influence future conduct, a Development Control Order (DCO) requires some form of specific performance or remedial action to be undertaken as mandated under the EP&A Act.

A failure to comply with a DCO, may result in Council taking class 4 (Civil) proceedings in the Land and Environment Court to enforce the Order. Alternatively, or a well as, Council could commence class 5 (Criminal) proceedings to prosecute the non-compliance with the EP&A Act at the centre of the DCO.

Our usual advice to clients’ is - don’t poke the bear!

If there is some procedural or other error in the DCO, it really matters little, as Council can simply withdraw the Order and reissue a corrected one.

It is far better to get some legal advice and get on the front foot and negotiate a resolution with Council. Call our expert Property & Planning Team to advise you further.