The Covid-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures – Miscellaneous) Act 2020 (NSW) (COVID Act) came into effect on 14 May 2020 and amended the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (EPA Act) by doubling the time period for lodging merit appeals against development applications.
Prior to the COVID Act, applicants of development applications had 6 months to appeal the actual or deemed refusal of their development applications to the Land and Environment Court pursuant to section 8.10 of the EPA Act.
Now, a Class 1 appeal under the EPA Act may be made within the following periods after the ‘relevant date’ :
1. 6 months after the relevant date (only if that relevant date occurs after the ‘prescribed period’, that is, after 25 March 2022 ); or
2. 12 months after the relevant date, if that relevant date occurs between 25 September 2019 and 25 March 2022.
This means that if a development application is refused (or deemed to be refused) between 25 September 2019 and 25 March 2022, an applicant or landowner has 12 months to commence appeal proceedings. Otherwise, the six-month appeal time limit will apply.
The EPA Act has also been amended (by virtue of the COVID Act) to extend an objector’s right to appeal a development application from 28 days to 56 days, if the relevant date falls between 26 February 2020 and 25 March 2020.
These deadlines are not extendable.
 Under the EPA Act, the ‘relevant date’ is the date that the decision appealed against is notified or registered on the NSW planning portal, or the date of deemed refusal (that is, if the development application is not determined within a specific period of time, depending on the type of development).
 Under the EPA Act, the ‘prescribed period’ is the period starting on 25 March 2020 and ending on 25 March 2022.