The NSW legislation website is established under Part 6A of the Interpretation Act 1987 as the official NSW government site for the online publication of legislation and the Gazette.
Section 45C (5) of the Interpretation Act 1987 enables the Parliamentary Counsel to certify the form of legislation or Gazettes that is correct. Most of the legislative content and all the Gazettes on this site have been so certified by the Parliamentary Counsel. In particular the following are authorised:
- the In Force database (in HTML format), which includes current and repealed legislation and the historical versions for that legislation
- the As Made database (in PDF) dated 2000 or later
- the Gazettes (in PDF) dated 2001 or later
See also the previous certification.
The following categories of legislative content have not been certified at this stage:
- Pre-2000 titles in PDF in the As Made database (these were scanned and have not been fully proofread and carry the risk that portions of the material may have scanned incorrectly).
- PDF versions of maps for selected titles in the In Force database, being maps referred to in the titles and available from a map index link.
- Documents adopted by reference in any title.
These items should be treated as being reference documents only and users should exercise their own skill and care with respect to the use of the material.
The authorisation of the legislation on this website is the product of a long process of moving from paper-based to electronic access to legislation. This process is one common to many Australian drafting offices, and was described in a paper given at the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC) conference in Hong Kong in April 2009. The long march: pen and paper drafting to E-publishing law is a modified version of that paper.
The In Force database is a collection of over 1,100 current NSW Acts, 600 regulations etc and 300 environmental planning instruments (EPIs) in HTML format. This material is produced from the database compiled and maintained by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office.
The collection is in 3 categories:
- Acts (principal and amending)
- Principal regulations, rules, by-laws etc, and
- Principal environmental planning instruments (EPIs) and the Standard Instrument LEP Order.
This collection is continuously updated and any amendments are usually consolidated and annotated with currency details, tables of amendments and clause-by-clause histories within a 3 day period of their commencement.
In addition to the currently in force material, the In Force database also contains historical versions of current legislation, providing point-in-time access.
All titles in the In Force database have complete sets of historical versions from a base date of 1 January 2002. Selected titles in the In Force database have more extensive collections of historical versions, for example the Crimes Act 1900, and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, and additional historical versions of key titles are in the process of being captured.
Private Acts are mainly 19th century Acts that passed through Parliament as Private Bills. They generally affect only a single individual or corporation and have a very limited application. A small number of titles with a wider and continuing application, are included on the In Force database. A list of all Private Acts is available in the Legislation tables section. All Acts as enacted from 1824 are included in the As Made database.
The website also contains repealed legislation from a base date of 1 January 2002, and historical versions of that repealed legislation. Selected instruments repealed prior to that base date are targetted for capture. In these cases usually a single version, as in force immediately prior to the date of repeal, is available. For example the Interpretation Act 1897, Local Government Act 1919 and Traffic Act 1909.
The As Made database is a collection of over 22,000 instruments in PDF. The collection is added to progressively as new legislation is made and consists of 3 categories:
- Acts (Public and Private Acts) as originally passed by Parliament and assented to by the Governor, since 1824
- Statutory instruments as originally made, since 1990
Environmental planning instruments (EPIs) as
- for SEPPs and REPs, since 1990
- for LEPs, since 2001
These are static documents and form a permanent archive of Acts, regulations etc and EPIs as they were originally passed or made. Lists of these instruments are available from the Tables section.
The Bills collection contains Bills at all stages of the Parliamentary process (eg First Print, Second Print, Passed by both Houses) and Explanatory notes for Bills as introduced into Parliament. The collection covers the period from 1987 onwards.
These are static PDF documents and form a permanent archive. Bills are grouped by the current Parliamentary term and then collectively for previous years.
This material is usually updated with the addition of new Bills, and updates to Bill information and PDF versions, within 3 days of the relevant Parliamentary event. The material is provided for research purposes only. The NSW Parliament website should be used for tracking the daily progress of Bills through Parliament and other Parliamentary information.
These is also a collection of consultation drafts of Bills publicly released before Introduction. This collection can be browsed and searched separartely and covers the period from 1999 onwards.
Notification-Gazette pages give official notice of the making of new statutory instruments (regulations, rules, commencement proclamations etc), environmental planning instruments and the publication of the NSW Government Gazette. Each Notification-Gazette page includes links to the listed instruments, which are located in the As Made database, and to Gazettes, which are located in the separate Gazette collection.
Notification-Gazette applies to the following:
- all environmental planning instruments from 26 January 2009,
- all statutory instruments made by the Governor (mainly regulations and commencement proclamations), court rules and some miscellaneous statutory instruments from 2 March 2009,
- the NSW Government Gazette from 1 January 2014.
Notification-Gazette is published on a cumulative basis each week and includes a permanent archive for previous weeks and years.
The collection of Gazettes for browsing and searching covers the period from 2001 onwards.
Departments, agencies and local councils should refer to the FAQs for notification and gazettal requirements.
Local councils should also refer to the Information about the drafting and making of delegated LEPs and the website of the Department of Planning and Environment.
The scope of instruments notified separately on the legislation website and available from the As Made database instead of the Gazette includes some other instruments of a legislative nature (for example, orders, directions, guidelines, standards or other instruments) that are not statutory rules (ie regulations, by laws or rules made by the Governor-in-Council) or environmental planning instruments. These are commonly referred to as "miscellaneous statutory instruments".
These instruments are often not drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office. However, the following technical requirements apply to these instruments:
The legislation information menu contains overviews on how to read legislation, constitutional legislation that applies in NSW and how legislation is made.
The menu also includes links to legislation tables. These tables provide summaries of information about instruments in force and as made, applied laws, repealed instruments, Bills, and commencement information and can be generated to show information as at a specific date or over a specified period. The tables include links to In Force or As Made versions of the instruments where applicable. This section also includes links to superseded print-based tables (including the former Legislation in Force guide) and other miscellaneous ancillary research material. See Archive of superseded and miscellaneous tables.
Applied laws are the laws of other jurisdictions and other government bodies that are applied as laws of NSW. Some applied legislation is not currently available on this website. A list of applied legislation is available in the Legislation tables section.
A number of unamended Private Acts are not included in the In Force database. See Private Acts of NSW.
The following principal local environmental plans (LEPs) are currently not available online but may still be in force:
- Queanbeyan Local Environmental Plan 1991
Deemed environmental planning instruments under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 are not available online.
This website is Version Ver. 4.4.10 Rev. 1248
The NSW legislation website is underpinned by the data set developed by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office using Standard Generalised Markup Language (SGML), which is an International Standard (ISO8879) for the descriptive markup of documents.
The website is built using LEGIS, a document management system used by PCO to manage the complete lifecycle of legislation from the initial drafting of instruments through to the publication and ongoing maintenance of legislation. The website and LEGIS are both built using the TeraText® Database System which is a high-performance, highly scalable repository that natively supports both SGML and XML. The website and systems were developed by Leidos Pty Ltd.
The In Force database in XML format is available for purchase from the PCO. The database consists of the In Force database, which comprises all versions of both current and repealed consolidated legislation. It does not include the As Made database, Bills or the Gazette. The data is updated on a weekly basis. The format supplied is XML and a DTD (document type definition) is available on request. For further details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
PDF files generated from NSW Legislation are delivered directly from the site's HTML using the Prince formatter by YesLogic Pty Ltd.