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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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Instructions to councils and other planning authorities on the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Date: 19.03.2020
  • Type: Featured Article
  • Author: The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces

Message from the Minister


With the impacts of COVID-19 continuing to impact our usual day-to-day functions, it is vital that we work together to do everything we can to support our communities over the weeks and months ahead.


The pandemic is creating new challenges that require changes in peoples’ behaviour. This is disrupting the way businesses and service providers ordinarily operate.


For instance, over the past week some retailers, supermarkets and other businesses are struggling to meet the unprecedented consumer demand we are experiencing. Restrictions on delivery times and truck movements in development consents are exacerbating this situation by limiting retailers’ ability to respond to community needs.


Councils across the State are to support communities through this period by adopting a flexible and pragmatic approach to enforcement and compliance action during the period while any Orders under the Public Health Act 2010 to deal with public health risk of COVID-19 apply. This includes taking appropriate and necessary measures to respond to the issues arising in these exceptional circumstances including:

  • Relaxing time restrictions and movement caps for deliveries in existing development consents for retailers such as supermarkets and other key service providers;
  • Relaxing restrictions on the use of footpaths for food premises to facilitate effective social distancing of patrons.


I encourage Councils to continue to maintain open lines of communication with important service providers including retailers and suppliers as this situation evolves as new issues and challenges arise.


It is important that we all work together pragmatically and consistently during this exceptional period to respond to this evolving situation. The NSW Government is committed to supporting you so you can continue to effectively assist your communities as we deal with the challenges ahead.


If you or your teams have any questions in relation to the planning response to COVID-19 please contact the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment on 13 77 88 or email


The Hon. Rob Stokes MP

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces