The NSW government body tasked with protecting the state's environment and heritage has been abolished with the opposition arguing the move will benefit developers.
The premier's department on Monday advised public servants that the Office of Environment and Heritage will cease to be a stand-alone independent body.
"To more effectively deliver services and advice to government, both the office of Environment & Heritage and Local Government will cease to be independent entities," the email, seen by AAP, states.
The environment cluster will be absorbed into a new planning and industry department, while heritage will be moved into premier and cabinet.
The OEH was responsible for providing scientific evidence and advice on major developments and national park and reserves. It also led conservation efforts across the state.
Some public servants are concerned that more projects with potential negative environmental impacts will be approved under the new arrangements.
The change has been labelled "terrible" by NSW Labor's interim leader Penny Sharpe.
She argues there will be no independent environmental advice given to government concerning planning decisions.
"Under this new system, planning is king," Ms Sharpe told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
"The environment needs stand-alone, independent and strong advice and a minister who will stand up for the environment."
The Nature Conservation Council says NSW needs a strong advocate within government to stand up to miners and developers.
"The decision to downgrade the environment portfolio and subsume it into a super-ministry with industry and development is par for the course from a government that has been at war with nature and environmental protection since it came to power in 2011," chief executive Kate Smolski said in a statement.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said in a statement: "Dissolving the Office of Environment and Heritage ... clearly indicates how this government is placing our natural, cultural and built heritage at the mercy of developers and industry."
Premier Gladys Berejiklian defended the move on Tuesday noting "the Environment Protection Authority is still there".
"When you've got a new government it's the time to make sure you make those changes that provide a better outcome for the people of this great state," she told reporters in Sydney.