Employment zone shake up to boost businesses

Fewer zones and greater flexibility for businesses are the cornerstones of the NSW Government’s proposed shake up of employment zones which is now on public exhibition.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the proposed framework means council Local Environmental Plans will have fewer zones that determine the type of business activities allowed on local sites.

“What we’ve learned through COVID is that businesses could be building engineering components one month then manufacturing hand sanitiser the next. This is why we need the system to be agile to support employment in our modern economy,” Mr Stokes said.

“Planning needs to focus more on how buildings look and perform and less on what people choose to do inside them.

“Rather than trying to tweak the existing system, we propose to completely overhaul it by replacing the current 12 business and industrial zones with five core employment zones.”

The five core proposed employment zones are:

  • E1 Local Centre: provides for a range of retail business, entertainment, community uses that service a local area;
  • E2 Commercial Centre: large-scale commercial, retail, business and service development in strategic centres;
  • E3 Productivity Support: mix of industrial, commercial, creative, warehousing and emerging new industries that need larger floor space;
  • E4 General Industrial: light and general industrial and warehousing uses providing important urban services like waste management and concrete batching; and
  • E5 Heavy Industrial: hazardous and industries with odour and noise impacts that need to be separated from other urban areas.

Mr Stokes said the new system represents significant economic reform, greater business certainty and a reduction in red tape, such as fewer unnecessary spot rezonings.

“Our State and local strategic plans have set a pathway for more innovative and productive businesses and industries to help drive our prosperity. This new framework makes it easier to achieve this goal,” Mr Stokes said.

“It also reflects our changing landscape with 97 extra mandated uses and new land use definitions to reflect emerging sectors like the circular economy, data storage and creative industries.”

The draft framework is part of the Government’s Planning Reform Action Plan to create a more timely, certain and transparent planning system which supports the State’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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