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NSW Department of Planning and Environment
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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.


Building business back better

Using the complying development pathway to support economic recovery

The NSW Government is building a faster, simpler planning system to support the State’s economic recovery. 

We’re making it easier for businesses to build back better by allowing them to do more work without the need for a development application as long as they meet the criteria.  
We’ve made it easier for businesses to operate and innovate.

As long as businesses meet the rules, they can extend their trading hours, set up a click and collect bay in the car park, or change their business altogether.

What are the changes?

Changes to the complying development pathway allow businesses to:

  • quickly adapt their offerings to new market demands for things like entertainment facilities, indoor recreation facilities and creative industries.
  • attract investment with new and larger building allowances.
  • carry out  site and parking upgrades to accommodate new modes of delivery, parking exclusions for small existing premises, change loading bays and create click and collect facilities; and
  • stay open for longer in certain areas.

We have prepared a design guide for businesses on complying development in business zones:
A Business Zone Design Guide to support the design verification process.

But wait.. there’s more still to come

In 2022 we will be expanding the complying development code with changes to support new data centres and community recycling centres; and simplified local planning rules. These changes will be developed with stakeholders in the new year.


We are working on additional guidance material to help business take advantage of the new rules to be released in 2022.

Consultation and feedback

We exhibited the changes to the Codes SEPP from 31 March until 9 May 2021.

To view the Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) on the proposed complying development changes to employment lands visit the planning portal.


You can find out more about what we heard and how we responded to feedback by reading the Submissions Report Summary.


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.