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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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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, to educate and train our future leaders and innovators and to deliver a skilled workforce.


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


The NSW Government has introduced a new education-based State Environmental Planning Policy.


The State Environmental Planning Policy (Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities) 2017 (the Education SEPP) has provisions that will make it easier for child-care providers, schools, TAFEs and Universities to build new facilities and improve existing ones by streamlining approval processes to save time and money and deliver greater consistency across NSW. The SEPP balances the need to deliver additional educational infrastructure with a focus on good design.


Review of the Education SEPP

We are committed to future-proofing our education system by making it easier for education and child-care providers to build high-quality facilities to meet demand.


The department is conducting the first review of the Education SEPP since its introduction in 2017. We are seeking your feedback on proposed amendments that will further streamline planning processes and ensure consistency in the delivery of great schools, child-care, TAFEs and universities.


The department has developed proposed amendments to the Education SEPP to:

  • save time and money through streamlined approval processes, making it easier for schools, TAFEs and universities to build new facilities and improve existing ones
  • support the new student housing strategy proposed in the Housing Diversity SEPP for student housing on schools and tertiary institution campuses including TAFEs
  • support the changing nature of tertiary institutions by making provision for innovation hub activities within existing tertiary institutions
  • address concerns about impacts of child-care centres within Low Density Residential Zones (R2)
  • address existing policy anomalies in the Education SEPP.

The proposed changes are part of a larger policy review program driven by an initiative of the NSW Government to ensure faster delivery of Government and infrastructure projects, including education facilitates.


Consultation and feedback

The proposed changes, outlined in the Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE), were on exhibition from 20 November until 17 December 2020.


Proposed changes to the Education SEPP and all exhibited documents can be viewed on our Planning Portal website.


For more information or if you have any queries, please contact the project team.


The SEPP aims to:

  • streamline the planning system for education and child care facilities including changes to exempt and complying development
  • make NSW the first state to bring national laws regulating early childhood education and care into a state planning system
  • bring the Department of Education into the planning process and give child care providers and developers upfront information about 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.


Child Care Planning Guideline

Watch the video spoken by Gabby Holden, Head of Early Learning Service Development, Uniting.


Page last updated: 18/12/2020