Real estate signage

Kempsey Shire Council is proactively reducing unapproved roadside signage in the shire.

Under Council's compliance program, which has mainly focused on rural roads to date, 210 unapproved or non-compliant signs have been removed from the roadside.

Why is Council doing this?

The objectives of our roadside signage compliance project are to:

  • reduce advertising clutter along roadsides across Kempsey Shire
  • educate advertisers about types of signage that can be installed with and without consent in urban and rural areas
  • maintain compliance with exempt development standards so that everyone is advertising on a 'level playing field' across the shire.

Why are unapproved roadside signs non-compliant?

Unapproved roadside signs are typically non-compliant because of:

  • Placement – when they are attached to power poles, trees, fences or freestanding on public land without permission
  • Number – when signs are more numerous than exemptions allow
  • Prohibition – when advertising-type signs are not permitted in the location.

Many non-compliant signs relate to real estate advertising. Council has been writing to real estate agents about the exempt development standards and advising them of Council's intention to enforce these standards across the shire.

To date, there has been a high level of cooperation by agents, who have promptly removed non-compliant signage.

What real estate signage can be installed without planning approval?

The legislative context for real estate advertising signage involves three key environmental planning instruments that are in force under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW).

Interpreting the controls can be confusing, so Council has prepared a simple Real Estate Signage Factsheet(PDF, 236KB) which summarises the standards that will be enforced.

For full details, you can view the planning instruments at the links below:

Unapproved signage that doesn't comply with exempt development standards will be subject to compliance action.

Can you obtain development consent for real estate signage?

You can obtain development consent for advertising signage if it satisfies planning considerations in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.


What does Council expect real estate agents to do?

Council expects real estate agents to:

  1. Ask Council any questions you might have about the exempt development standards for real estate signage.
  2. Ensure your staff and clientele are aware of the standards.
  3. Bring any existing advertising of real estate properties into compliance with the legislated development standards.
  4. Ensure any new advertising of real estate properties is strictly in accordance with the legislation.

From 1 November 2022, any instance of non-compliance will be subject to compliance action, beginning with a Penalty Notice (on-the-spot fine) in the amount of $3,000 for individuals or $6,000 for corporations.

Need more information?

If you have any questions about real estate signage, please phone Council on 6566 3200 or email us at