Skip to main content
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Share:

The NSW Government has introduced a suite of reforms to deliver a better planning system for NSW, accelerate the delivery of projects, create jobs, and keep the economy moving.


The complying development pathway offers the potential for streamlined planning for straight forward developments. This means projects that meet strict construction and building standards may be approved faster by council or an accredited certifier.


The purpose of the complying development reforms is to:

  • provide a streamlined assessment pathway for job-creating development, where the environmental impacts are well understood and managed through development standards.
  • expand the complying development pathway provisions in employment zones to support existing and emerging business, such as data centres and circular economy, so that more activities can be undertaken without the need for a development application.
  • ensure planning and building standards will be such that they are able to be signed off by an accredited certifier.
  • support emerging and local business social and economic recovery.


The reforms are intended to support greater innovation by better tailoring assessment processes, reducing project delays, and making it easier to navigate the planning system.


Using the complying development pathway to support economic recovery

The department has commissioned research into ways the NSW planning system can support the recovery of business following the COVID-19 pandemic and a strong economic recovery moving forward. The department’s research shows that changes to the complying development pathway is a simple and effective way to support industrial and commercial investment in existing employment land zones.


We have undertaken a stakeholder engagement program to inform possible changes to State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) and understand how impacts can be managed through the complying development framework.


Building business back better

Four key areas have been identified through research commissioned by the department to encourage investment and job-generating development through strengthening complying development:


1. Enabling land use and business agility for retail, commercial and industrial development reducing barriers in utilising existing space.


2. Optimising opportunities for industrial and commercial development.


3. Neighbourhood centre activation, strengthening our increasingly important local networks.


4. Streamlining the delivery of data centres to support networks.


Consultation and feedback

In addition to the ongoing stakeholder engagement program, the department prepared an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) on the proposed complying development changes to employment lands.


The EIE sought feedback on proposed policy reforms to the Codes SEPP to accelerate capital investment in employment zones using the complying development pathway.


The EIE covers all four of the above modules. It can be read in sections which cover specific parts of the proposed policy reform or read as a whole document. The EIE is also accompanied by the department’s complete evidence base, which can be downloaded and viewed on the planning portal attachments section.


The EIE was on public exhibition from 31 March until 9 May 2021.


Read the EIE


For more information about the program, please email the team.

Land use and business agility

Improved land use and business agility may be delivered through streamlined complying development pathways to deliver employment-generating activity sooner.

Complying development industrial site, Sydney. Photo by: Salty Dingo/ DPIE

Industrial and commercial development

We have identified that changes to the Codes SEPP would allow a streamlined assessment process for industrial and commercial development.

Proposed concept for a multilevel warehouse and distribution centre with internal one-way circular ramp system. Image copyright GHD Group 2020; reproduced with permission.

Neighbourhood Centres

The Neighbourhood Centres program provides guidance to businesses, communities and councils about how neighbourhood centres can be activated and improved using exempt and complying development planning pathways.

neighbourhood centres tile 430x278

Data centres

A streamlined approval for data centres will help stimulate investment and deliver employment generating development faster.

Data centres stock image.