The Parliamentary Counsel's Office (PCO) is a separate office within the Department of Premier and Cabinet responsible to the Premier.
The PCO provides legislative drafting services for the State of New South Wales. It drafts all Bills required for introduction into Parliament and drafts or settles a wide range of subordinate legislation, including regulations, rules, proclamations, orders and environmental planning instruments.
The PCO also provides an integrated range of services for publishing legislation, including the NSW legislation website, and providing advice and information about legislation.
Please note that the Office does NOT provide legal advice or assistance with legal research projects. If you are seeking legal advice or research assistance, click here.
- Commitment to service
- History of the Parliamentary Counsel's Office
- Need legal advice or research assistance?
- Obtaining printed copies of legislation
To provide the Government with a comprehensive and integrated range of high quality services for the drafting and development of legislation, the publication of legislation, and the giving of advice and information about legislation.
- drafting new legislation (including Acts, Regulations and environmental planning instruments)
- drafting amendments to Bills during the Parliamentary process
- drafting explanatory notes to new laws
- providing advice and assistance to government concerning new legislation and legislative policy
- providing a legislative drafting service for non-Government Members of Parliament (under arrangements approved by the Government). See Manual for the Drafting of Non-Government Legislation
- providing a complete legislation publishing service to Parliament (including the printing of Bills for introduction into and passage through Parliament and for presentation to the Governor)
- providing online access to legislation on the NSW legislation website (www.legislation.nsw.gov.au)
- providing the official online notification of the making of new statutory instruments.
- providing information publications about legislation
- providing source data for legislation.
- providing camera-ready copy and data to enable the printing and distribution of
- new legislation
- information publications
NSW Government Gazette
The Government Gazette is produced and made available to the public by the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Telephone 02 9228 3120
Providing advice and information
- providing legal advice and administrative assistance on legislative drafting and procedure
- producing an extensive range of legislation information publications
- researching legislative drafting and related matters
- compiling, maintaining and developing a comprehensive database of NSW legislation.
Further information about the PCO and its role in the legislative process is contained in the Manual for the Preparation of Legislation published by the PCO.
The PCO does not provide legal advice or assistance with research projects. If you are seeking legal advice or research assistance, click here.
The principal client of the PCO is the Government, including Ministers of the Crown and Government agencies of all kinds. Its other clients include Parliament, individual Members of Parliament, and the public.
The PCO is a vital link in the legislative process, working with Cabinet, Parliament and officers from Government Departments and agencies to meet the Parliamentary program. The Subordinate Legislation program follows a similar pattern. The PCO also works with other organisations to promote uniform legislation and plain language, and to further refine the content, appearance and availability of legislation.
The PCO provides the public with free access to NSW legislation on the NSW legislation website (www.legislation.nsw.gov.au) which has been in operation since 2002. On 8 June 2006 as a result of the assent of the Interpretation Amendment Act 2006, the NSW legislation website was established under Part 6A of the Interpretation Act 1987 as the official NSW Government site for the online publication of legislation.
To complement our dealings with the public, the PCO utilises customer focus groups on specific projects. These activities provide valuable feedback from the users of NSW legislation and other PCO services.
All draft priority legislation required by the Government will be provided strictly in accordance with the legislative program.
All requests for drafting services, advice or information will be met directly, either through the resources of the PCO or by referring the customer to a more appropriate organisation.
All correspondence will be either responded to immediately or acknowledged in a timely manner. Where possible, a time-frame for further liaison and anticipated completion of the work will be given.
A PCO contact name will be provided in all correspondence and telephone inquiries.
The nature and scope of special projects will be established by first agreeing to clear terms of reference, standards of service and time-frames.
Services and information will be accurate, well researched and up-to-date.
All drafting assignments are subject to stringent review and will conform to PCO policies of quality drafting and plain language.
The PCO Code of Conduct stresses the importance of confidentiality and professionalism, and all sensitive material is managed with proper consideration of the impact on individuals and other agencies.
The PCO will continue to ensure that its staff are trained and encouraged to provide professional and competent service.
Service standards will be monitored regularly via customer focus groups, client feedback and other research tools.
The Parliamentary Counsel's Office does NOT provide legal advice or research
assistance to the public.
The Office does not provide:
- Information on the meaning of particular provisions of legislation or how they might be applied in particular circumstances (for example, traffic offences or how a local environmental planning instrument applies to your property).
- Information about future plans for legislation.
- Legal research or information for student projects or university assignments.
If you are seeking legal advice or research assistance, the following sources may be useful:
- Law Access Online provides plain language legal information, including fact sheets and guides to help you with legal issues. Law Access NSW also operates a free government telephone service that provides legal information, advice and referrals for people who have a legal problem in NSW. Telephone 1300 888 529.
- The Legal Information Access Centre is a specialist information service of the State Library of NSW and provides access to information about the law for members of the public. It also provides legal research assistance for students and teachers.
- The government department, agency or local council administering a particular piece of legislation may be able to assist you with information about the operation of the legislation or the underlying policies. The NSW Government Directory provides a list of the government departments, agencies and Ministries.
- For legal advice on the interpretation or application of legislation you may need to consult a qualified private lawyer or community legal service.
The Parliamentary Counsel's Office does not provide or sell printed copies of legislation.
If you would like to obtain printed legislation (either the current in force version or as originally made) there are several options available:
- You can print out the legislation you require free of charge from the legislation website (http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au). As Made titles are already available in PDF and most in force titles have a PDF version available on the pale blue task bar.
- You can download the PDF of the legislation you require onto your computer and then either save it onto a USB drive and take it to any print shop or email it to them and they will print it for you.
- Go to your local library to access the legislation website and print out the copies you require.
The Parliamentary Counsel's Office can provide the following:
- Information about the commencement and currency of NSW legislation.
- Assistance with using the NSW legislation website (eg navigating the website, printing instruments, linking to the website, accessing tables for information about legislation etc)
Telephone: +61 2 9321 3333