25 Finding New South Wales Legislation

The New South Wales legislation website managed by the NSW Parliamentary Counsel’s Office provides access to authorised versions of NSW legislation. The website can be searched or browsed to find legislation.

Use secondary resources such as textbooks, online commentary, legal encyclopaedias or journal articles to help identify key legislation.

Finding In Force Legislation

To find the most current version of a New South Wales Act, Statutory Instrument or Environmental Planning Instrument , access the In force legislation page on the NSW legislation website.

Browse alphabetically if you know the title of the legislation or select the year the legislation came into force.

Some Statutory Instruments are prepared by other NSW government agencies. Access these on the Statutory instruments prepared by other agencies page.

Finding As Made Legislation

To find as made versions of NSW Acts, Statutory Instruments and Environmental Planning Instruments, access the As made legislation page on the NSW legislation website. This page includes:

  • Acts as passed from 1824
  • Statutory Instruments as made from 1990
  • Environmental Planning Instruments made from 2001

You can find as made Statutory Instruments and Environmental Planning Instruments from 1832-2001 via the NSW Government Gazettes held in Trove.

To search for specific instruments in Trove, type the enabling Act name in “double quotation marks” and add a keyword such as ‘regulation’, for example:

“gold fields act of 1861” AND regulation

Filter the results by Category > Government Gazette Proclamations and Legislation

Finding Point-in-Time and Historical Legislation

The NSW legislation website includes historical versions (sometimes called ‘reprints’) of legislation from approximately 2000 onwards (some titles have earlier versions available).

On an Act or Instrument homepage, look for the Point-in-time versions heading. Select a version from the timeline, or select an exact date from the calendar.

This list of versions is also available by navigating to Legislative history (in the menu bar at the top of the Act or Instrument homepage) > Table of versions.

Note: The NSW Parliamentary Counsel’s Office are working on scanning additional historical hardcopy legislation; further information about the available collections is available on the Historical Information page of the NSW Legislation website.

You can also search for hardcopy reprints of Acts and Statutory Instruments in a Library collection.

Finding Repealed Legislation

To find repealed versions of NSW Acts, Statutory Instruments and Environmental Planning Instruments, access the Repealed legislation page on the NSW legislation website.

This page includes legislation repealed from 2002; some titles repealed prior to 2002 are available as at the date of repeal.

Findings Bills and Extrinsic Material

Find NSW Bills and extrinsic material on the Parliament of New South Wales website.

Browse to the Bill homepage via:

The Bill homepage provides links to the Bill, Explanatory Notes and Second Reading Speeches. You will also find details of amendments and committee consideration on the Bill homepage, if applicable.

Note: the NSW legislation website (and some commercial databases) also include Bill and Explanatory Note information; however these sites may not include supplementary or revised versions of documents. It It is recommended you use the parliamentary website.

If you can’t find a Bill or Explanatory Note on the Parliament website, try AustLII, which includes:

When were Explanatory Notes first published in NSW?

Explanatory Notes have been issued for NSW Bills since the 1920s, however not every Bill has Explanatory Notes. Prior to the 1920s, brief Explanatory Notes were attached to the front of Bills such as money Bills; they varied from a few paragraphs to a page in length. From the 1980s, Explanatory Notes became longer and from 1987 they have been published separately to the Bill.

Note: Adapted from Bills and Explanatory Notes (ENs) by State Library of NSW, CC BY 4.0

If a Second Reading Speech is not listed on the Bill homepage, browse or search the Hansard and House Papers by Date list to locate the relevant pages in the hansard.

Tip: Check the Progress table on the Bill homepage to find the the date of the Second Reading Speech before you start browsing.

Finding NSW Government Gazettes

To find NSW government gazettes from 2001 onwards, access the Gazette page of the NSW legislation website.

Find historical NSW gazettes (1832-2001) in the Gazettes collection in Trove.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide: 2024 JCU Edition Copyright © 2024 by James Cook University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.