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Draft Education and Child Care SEPP

 

Child care and education infrastructure lays the foundations for our children’s learning from their earliest years through to their adult careers. The NSW Government is committed to providing high quality educational environments that support the learning needs of every student.

 

NSW needs to invest in high quality and cost-effective early childhood education and care facilities, schools, TAFEs and universities to nurture young minds, educate and train our future leaders and innovators and deliver a skilled workforce.

 

The NSW Government is proposing changes to the planning system to make it easier for education and child care providers to build high-quality facilities.

 

The NSW Government is proposing to introduce a new education-based State Environmental Planning Policy.

 

The proposed Education and Child Care State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) proposes changes that will make it easier for child-care providers, schools, TAFEs and universities to build new facilities and improve existing ones by streamlining the planning process to save time and money and deliver greater consistency across NSW. The proposed SEPP balances the need for delivery of additional educational infrastructure with a focus on good design.



The proposed SEPP aims to:

  • streamline the planning system for education and child care facilities including changes to exempt and complying development;
  • NSW will be the first State to bring Commonwealth Laws regulating early childhood education and care into a state planning system;
  • brings the Department of Education into the planning process early, and gives child care providers and developers information, from the beginning regarding all national and state requirements for new child care services;
  • streamline the delivery of new schools and upgrading existing facilities, with a focus on good design; and
  • assist TAFEs and universities to expand and adapt their specialist facilities in response to the growing need, and to maintain our reputation for providing world class tertiary education, while allowing for more flexibility in the use of their facilities.

Have your say

You can view the proposed SEPP online and make a submission until 7 April 2017

 

If you cannot lodge your submission online, you can write to:

 

Director, Industry and Infrastructure Policy

Department of Planning and Environment
PO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

We will publish your submission online. That’s why it’s important to read our privacy statement at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/privacy

 

More information
Email: education.sepp@planning.nsw.gov.au
Call our Information Centre on 1300 305 695. If English isn’t your first language, please call 131 450. Ask for an interpreter in your language and then request to be connected to our Information Centre on 1300 305 695.

 

We look forward to your feedback.

Make a submission

 

Child Care Facilities

Planning for early childhood education and care facilities

 

To make it easier for child care providers and developers to deliver new early childhood education and care facilities across NSW, the NSW Government is proposing the following changes to the planning system:

  • aligning the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Facilities into the NSW planning system;
  • simplifying and streamlining the planning approval process by allowing certain early childhood education and care facilities to be assessed as exempt or complying developments;
  • referring development applications that do not meet key national requirements to the Department of Education early in the assessment process, allowing applicants to make any necessary modifications early in the design process;
  • allowing early childhood education and care facilities to be temporarily relocated (through an exempt development process) in the event of an emergency;
  • amend all Local Environmental Plans to permit centre-based child care in all R2 Low Density Residential and IN2 Light Industrial zones, allowing child care centres in more locations closer to homes and workplaces; and
  • introduce the Child Care Planning Guideline, which contains key national requirements and design guidance for child care facilities.

 

These changes will not affect the requirement for early childhood education and care providers to apply for a Service Approval to operate a service. In NSW, the Department of Education is the regulatory authority which reviews and approves applications for Service Approvals.


The proposed SEPP classifies the types of early childhood education and care facilities that can be assessed as exempt and complying development and those facilities that will need to go through the local development (DA) process. The SEPP contains key requirements from the national law so that new facilities are appropriately designed and built.

 

To support the proposed changes, all Local Environmental Plans across NSW will be amended. The amendments will:

  • change all references of ‘child care centre’ to ‘centre-based child care’; and
  • permit centre-based child care with development consent in all R2 Low Density Residential and IN2 Light Industrial zones, delivering more facilities closer to homes and jobs.

The proposed SEPP will allow the following types of facilities to be considered as exempt development, as long as all planning controls have been met:

  • all home-based child care facilities on all land, including land prone to bushfires with appropriate protection measures;
  • school-based child care, as long facilities comply with the National Quality Framework;
  • mobile child care; and
  • temporary relocations of child care facilities in the event of an emergency


The proposed SEPP proposes allowing the following types of facilities to be considered as complying development, so long as all of the planning controls have been met:

  • school-based child care, where some development is needed to meet the National Quality Framework or additional space to accommodate the service is required within the school; and
  • some minor alterations and additions to school-based and centre-based child care facilities.

The proposed SEPP aims to remove the duplication and inconsistencies that currently exist when constructing a child care facility.

 

Most early childhood education and care facilities are defined as centre-based child care. Centre-based child care facilities need to be assessed through the local development process.

 

To help child care providers, developers and councils to deliver new, high-quality early childhood education and care facilities, a child care planning guideline has been prepared. The planning guideline includes national and state planning controls as well as best practice design guidelines. A copy of the draft planning guideline can be viewed at: www.planning.nsw.gov.au/educationandchildcare



 

Schools

Planning for schools

 

The proposed SEPP will streamline and simplify the planning requirements for educational facilities across the State.

 

These reforms will make it much easier for public and non-government schools to implement a wide range of improvements and expansions to schools, such as upgrading sports fields, building a new library, and offering before and after school care services.

 

High quality design will be a key focus of the proposed planning improvements to ensure that new educational infrastructure enhances communities, delivers greater energy efficiency and contributes to healthy lifestyles for children.

Having access to quality early childhood education is vital for the development of our children and for the growth of the NSW economy.

 

These reforms will make it much easier for public and non-government schools to implement a wide range of improvements and expansions to schools such as, upgrading sports fields, building a new library, and offering before and after school care services.

The exempt development provisions for schools are intended to enable minor works to be undertaken within school grounds without planning approval provided that certain development standards are met.

 

Examples of works that may be permitted as exempt development include:

  • one storey portable classrooms and amenities buildings
  • out of school hours care in existing buildings for primary school children
  • removal of trees that pose a risk
  • landscaping and routine maintenance works
  • play equipment, sporting fields and courts, walking paths, seats, shelters and shade structures
  • demolition of certain buildings that are not a heritage buildings or in a heritage conservation area.

In order to install additional classrooms and educational facilities quickly, in response to increased student numbers, straightforward developments will be permitted as complying development.

 

They will have fast track assessment process by an accredited certifier to determine if they meet pre-determined development standards.

 

The types of complying development proposed to be permitted within the boundaries of an existing school include:

  • construction of buildings for educational uses such as classrooms, a library, administration, school hall, gymnasium, canteen or a child care facility
  • a covered outdoor learning area
  • a car park
  • demolition of a buildings that have an area no greater than 250 square metres
  • minor alterations or additions to existing buildings
  • restoration, replacement or repair of damaged facilities.

 

Schedule 2 of the proposed SEPP lists the required development standards that must be complied with, including a maximum height limit of four storeys and 22m, minimum side and rear setbacks and requirements for landscaping.

 

There are also requirements for the design of schools and assessment of traffic impacts to be done before an application for a complying development certificate is lodged.

The proposed SEPP will permit development for the purpose of a school to be carried out with consent in prescribed zones.

 

All new schools and major expansions of existing schools with a project value of $20 million or more will require a State significant development (SSD) application, which is assessed and determined by the Minister for Planning. Other school developments with a value less than $20 million and that require consent will need a development application to be lodged with the relevant council.

 

Planning for TAFE and University Facilities

 

The proposed SEPP will allow TAFEs and universities to expand and adapt their facilities in response to the growing number of people seeking tertiary qualifications, and to maintain our reputation for providing world class tertiary education.

 

Tertiary institutions will be able to build quality learning facilities more efficiently and economically. The new policy will also allow for more flexibility in the use of commercial buildings for educational purposes.

 

Through these reforms, the NSW Government is delivering on its commitment to building a world-class workforce to deliver strong economic growth for NSW.


TAFEs and universities play an integral role in training and developing a strong, educated worksforce to support economic growth in NSW.

 

The proposed SEPP will expand existing provisions applying to tertiary institutions to make it easier to improve and expand existing campuses and provide the services that students need, such educational premises, cafes, bookshops and recreational facilities.

The proposed SEPP would allow the following exempt development at TAFE and university campuses, provided the relevant development standards are complied with:

  • some car parking areas, and outdoor recreation facilities
  • routine maintenance (including earthworks associated with a playing field or landscaping and maintenance of existing roads)
  • lighting
  • landscaping, including irrigation (whether they use recycled or other water)
  • environmental management works
  • walking tracks, boardwalks, raised walking paths, ramps, minor pedestrian bridges, stairways, gates, seats, barbecues, shelters, cycleways and shade structures
  • portable or temporary buildings for educational purposes
  • demolition of some buildings.

The proposed SEPP will permit certain development to be carried out as complying development at existing TAFE and university campuses, including:

  • information or education facilities
  • some cafes and take away food premises
  • office premises, community facilities and amenities buildings
  • indoor recreation facilities
  • storage and maintenance facilities
  • environmental facilities including greenhouses and glass houses.

 

The development standards that apply to complying development are in Schedule 3 and 4 of the proposed SEPP, and include a maximum height limit, minimum side and rear setbacks, and restrictions on gross floor area.

The proposed SEPP will permit development for the purpose of a university to be carried out with consent in prescribed zones. Schedule 1 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011 will continue to apply to tertiary institutions, which provides that development for the purpose of educational establishments (including associated research facilities) that has a capital investment value of more than $30 million are SSD applications.

 

Developments with a value less than $30 million will continue to be local and regional development applications, dependent on cost of the project.

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Page last updated: 27/02/2017