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An amendment to State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004 (the Seniors SEPP) has been made to introduce new rules for site compatibility certificates (SCCs).


The amendment responds to community concerns about new seniors developments in urban fringe areas while balancing the need to deliver housing for our aging population. 


The new SCC rules will apply to all land eligible for a SCC to be issued under the Seniors SEPP. SCCs permit seniors housing on land that adjoins land zoned primarily for urban purposes subject to meeting criteria set out in the Seniors SEPP. SCCs are also required for seniors housing to be permitted on existing registered club sites, land zoned for special uses, and where a proponent is developing a ‘vertical village’.


The Seniors SEPP has been amended to:

  • Limit the incremental expansion of land for seniors housing where a SCC has previously been issued, by requiring that any new SCC to include additional land cannot be issued unless:
    • the additional land independently meets the SCC criteria, or
    • meets new criteria that limits the type and scale of development on the additional land.
  • Require a cumulative impact study to be provided when an application is lodged within a one-kilometre radius of a site of two or more SCC applications.
  • Change the determining authority for all SCCs from the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment to the relevant Sydney District Planning Panel or Regional Planning Panel.


The amendment to the Seniors SEPP will commence on 1 October 2018.


The proposed changes to address the issue of incremental expansion of land for seniors housing were exhibited between 10 and 24 November 2017. Twenty-five submissions were received. Most submissions provided qualified support but raised additional issues including:

  • The effect of prior lot consolidation and site amalgamation on SCC applications.
  • That each lot within a consolidated site or amalgamated parcel should meet the criteria for a SCC to be issued.
  • The need for assessment of the cumulative impacts of multiple SCCs in an area including on services and infrastructure.
  • The need for more stringent assessment of SCC applications.


In response to submissions, further work was undertaken to inform the final amendment to address cumulative impact and to change the determining authority for SCCs.


The Seniors SEPP amendment 2018 can be viewed on the NSW Legislation website.

View the Seniors SEPP amendment 2018(PDF, 198KB)

For more information, please see the frequently asked questions.


View the exhibition documents and submissions.

Page last updated: 31/10/2018