Submissions and petitions

Council must invite the community to provide formal input on some types of plans and proposals.

This page tells you how to provide your ideas and concerns about publicly exhibited items so they will be considered by Council.

You can do this by making a submission or petition. 

Petitions are usually signed by many people. You are welcome to petition Council about things that are not on public exhibition. Click the 'Petition' tab below for more information.

You can provide feedback on matters that are not publicly exhibited in the following ways:

We also seek community feedback from time to time via community surveys.


Step 1.Check when the submission is due

You must make your submission by the end of the exhibition period listed in the notice.

Exhibition periods are usually 28 days, but are sometimes 14 days or 42 days. You can find statutory and non-statutory timeframes in the Community Participation Engagement Plan(PDF, 3MB) .

Council may decide to extend a submission period for everyone.

Late submissions

For some types of submissions the Consent Authority may consider late submissions but you will not have the right to start an objector appeal. For more information see the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Step 2.Prepare your submission

You must provide:

  • who you are and, if you are representing others, who you represent
  • contact details e.g. name, email, phone number or address
  • the signature of each person making the submission
  • a reference to what the submission is about e.g. application number or proposal
  • your concerns or issues with the matter or proposal

You should:

  • make recommendations and clear statements
  • use evidence to support any arguments
  • use clear, concise and respectful language

Include any disclosure statements

You must tell us if you have made a political donation or given a gift to a Councillor or City of Coffs Harbour staff member. Include a Disclosure Statement of Political Donations and Gifts with your submission.

What information does Council need to provide?

Council is not required to make Environmental Impact Statements public where they decide that would be contrary to the public interest or for any other reason. If this happens you can lodge a formal application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

Step 3.Lodge your submission

Lodge your submission via:

· Email:

· In writing, in person at Council’s Customer Service Centre

· Mail to locked Bag 155, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450

Step 4.Council considers your submission

A staff member reviews your submission and reports it to Council, or other relevant authorities.

Council only makes their decision after they have considered all the submissions.

How does a submission contribute to decision making?

Council considers more than public acceptance when making a decision. For example, they must also consider economic, environmental and technical factors.

Therefore the number of submissions for or against a proposal does not determine the outcome of a decision.

Council gives all submissions equal weight. They don't give submissions more importance based on who made it or any other factor.


Step 1.Prepare your petition

The person who submits a petition is the ‘primary petitioner’. If the petition does not identify a primary person, we will assume the first signatory is the primary petitioner.

The primary petitioner needs to ensure the petition meets the requirements below.

A petition to Council must be about:

  • an issue that Council is responsible for, as defined by the Local Government Act 1993, or
  • an issue that affects the Coffs Harbour local government area that Council can influence.

A petition must:

  • include the primary petitioner’s name, address and contact details
  • be an original document
  • include the name, address, date and original signatures (or email addresses in the case of an electronic petition) of the people supporting the petition
  • show the date when the letter was signed
  • propose actions that are lawful

A petition should:

  • be addressed to the General Manager
  • describe what the petition is about
  • explain what action the petitioners would like Council to take
  • use respectful and clear language, and accurate information

Step 2.Council receives your petition

We will get back to the primary petitioner within 7 working days.

We will let them know if:

  • Council  has addressed a similar petition or issue in the past 24 months and what the result was
  • State legislation affects Council’s ability to respond to the petition
  • Council has no direct control but will make representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body. If unable to do this, we will let the primary petitioner know why.
  • Council has no responsibility or influence. If there is a more suitable body the petitioners could send it to instead, we will let the primary petitioner know.

If the petition meets requirements

We will let the primary petitioner know who their City of Coffs Harbour contact is.

In most instances we will communicate only with the primary petitioner. The primary petitioner needs to communicate information to other signatories to the petition.

If a primary petitioner has presented incorrect information when collecting signatures, we may contact the signatories using the contact details they provided.

Step 3.Council's response

When we receive a petition, Council’s response will depend on what the petition asks for and may include one or more of the following:

  • do what was requested in the petition
  • consider the petition at a meeting of Council
  • do research or consultation with the community
  • provide a written response to the primary petitioner outlining Council’s views about the request