A NSW Government website

Planning law changes for new caravan parks and manufactured home estates

20 Nov 2023

Outdated planning laws relating to caravan parks, manufactured home estates, camping grounds, and moveable dwellings are set for their first shake-up in 30 years.

The last major changes were made in 1993 when Sydney was announced as the host of the 2000 Olympics, Paul Keating was Prime Minister and the median house price in NSW was less than $150,000.

After decades of unresolved discussions with stakeholders, the NSW Government has opted to take control and deliver the required reforms to modernise the planning laws around caravan parks to improve environmental and safety standards.

The proposed changes include:

  • New short-term site stay limits increased to 180 days for caravans and 90 days for camping. 
  • New size and location limits for caravans and tents outside caravan parks.
  • Prohibiting new long-term accommodation on flood prone land (recommendation of 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry.
  • Improvements to fire safety requirements for new or existing parks.

Existing long-term sites located on flood-prone land will be exempt from some new requirements due to the cost and impracticality of upgrading established caravan parks.

Short-term or tourist sites within caravan parks will continue to be permitted on flood-prone land. 

This is consistent with the NSW Flood Inquiry's finding that holiday makers can be evacuated easily during floods.

Despite widespread agreement that the current framework is out of date, previous attempts to update planning laws have stalled and have not delivered the necessary reforms.

The proposed reforms will take place in two phases:

  • Phase 1 is now on exhibition and includes a response to the recent NSW Flood Inquiry, changes to stay limits for short term sites and simplification of the exemptions for installation of caravans and tents outside parks and estates.
  • Phase 2 will examine approval pathways and definitions and will involve more substantial changes to both planning and local government regulation.

Consultation on Phase 1 will close on Friday 15 December and further public consultation will be carried out as Phase 2 progresses in 2024.

For a copy of the proposed amendments and more information visit: planningportal.nsw.gov.au/manufactured-home-estates 

DPE Executive Director Housing and Economic Policy Luke Walton said sensible reforms are proposed to modernise regulations around caravan parks and camping grounds to bring them into the 21st century. 

“Importantly, these changes will not introduce undue financial pressure on existing caravan parks and will not force any relocations,” Mr Walton said. 

“DPE is very conscious that caravan parks are often home to vulnerable people who would be at increased risk of homelessness should the parks close down.

“We want to deliver more housing but only where it is safe and appropriate to do so.”