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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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The SEPP allows 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 workforce to support economic growth in NSW.


The SEPP expands 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 SEPP allows the following exempt development at TAFE and university campuses, provided the relevant development standards are complied with:

  • 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 SEPP permits 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 of the SEPP, and include a maximum height limit, minimum side and rear setbacks, and restrictions on gross floor area.

The SEPP permits 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.

Page last updated: 30/04/2021