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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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The planning system will continue to be a key lever for the NSW Government as we respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic with particular focus on reforms that accelerate the delivery of projects that create jobs and keep the economy moving.


Work is underway to improve assessment time frames, reduce red tape, eliminate double-handling and fast-track projects that deliver great public benefits to the people of NSW.


Changing business needs in the post-pandemic economy may increase the pressure on the development assessment system. The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that straight forward development projects can be fast tracked to deliver great public benefit for the people of NSW and reduce any potential backlog in the planning system.


Land use and business agility program explained

The department has commissioned research into ways to support the recovery of business following the COVID-19 pandemic and address longer-term changes in the economic environment.


One of the key areas that emerged is land use and business agility. Land use and business agility refers to the ease and speed of changing and mobilising retail, office and industrial spaces.


Improved land use and business agility may be delivered through streamlined complying development pathways to deliver employment-generating activity sooner. Early research has identified the following factors that can make it hard for businesses to start or change operations quickly under the current complying development scheme:

  • Barriers to making existing commercial and industrial development fit the needs of new tenants and new business approaches
  • Restrictions on the complying development pathway for land use types that might already be permissible in the zone
  • Lack of streamlined pathways for minor upgrades and improvement or re-configuring space/s
  • Documentation requirements for previous land use.


Changes to State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) is a key mechanism that may increase land use and business agility and promote economic recovery through a streamlined approval process. It will support businesses wanting to quickly change their use and operational demands. The complying development assessment pathway would only apply to land uses that are already permissible in the relevant zone under the relevant Local Environmental Plan as determined by council strategic planning processes.


Have your say

The planning system has an important role to play in helping NSW unlock productivity, support innovation and enable job creation and investment.


We have prepared an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) on a complying development pathway for land use and business agility in the Codes SEPP. In addition, we are seeking feedback on industrial and commercial land use; data centres; and neighbourhood centres.


The EIE is currently on public exhibition until 9 May 2021.


Read the EIE


For more information about the proposed changes and to submit your feedback, please visit the planning portal.

Page last updated: 31/03/2021