A NSW Government website

What is a controlled activity?

Guidelines and e-tools for controlled activity

Information on the types of activity that are classified as controlled activities.

Use the guidelines and e-tools on this page to help you understand if you need to apply for a controlled activity approval.


These are the available guidelines on certain types of controlled activities and the protection of waterfront land.

Waterfront land e-tool

The Waterfront land e-tool is an interactive web-based tool that aims to help applicants and consultants determine the definition of waterfront land under the controlled activity provisions of the Water Management Act 2000.

Waterfront land in NSW


The tool identifies waterfront land based on three key factors:

  • the presence of defined bed and banks
  • evidence of flow and geomorphic features (whether water is present or not)
  • the presence of aquatic/riparian vegetation.

The waterfront land e-tool can be used in conjunction with the PDF version (PDF, 3956.66 KB) of the tool.

The PDF version of the waterfront land tool is designed as a field guide for applicants and consultants to support field-based investigations and assessments.

Please refer to the disclaimer on the e-tool and PDF version for the proper use of the tool.

Go to the Waterfront land e-tool

Controlled activity exemption e-tool

There are several exemptions from the need to obtain a controlled activity approval.

The department has developed this simple web-based tool to help you identify if an exemption applies to your proposal.

The tool will help you:

  • identify if an exemption applies
  • interpret the requirements and limitations of exemptions
  • send you an email containing your answers and a result.

Please refer to the disclaimer on the e-tool for the proper use of the tool.

Go to the Controlled activity exemption e-tool

For more information, see controlled activity approval exemptions (PDF, 193.51 KB) or see the full list of exemptions in the legislation.

Controlled activity exemptions in clause 36 of Schedule 4 of the regulation only applies within certain waterfront land shown in maps which are published on the department’s website.

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) is responsible for compliance and enforcement of NSW water law including laws about controlled activities.