NSW Fast Tracks Key Projects to Boost Economic Recovery

By Sophia Jiang
Sophia Jiang
Sophia Jiang
July 24, 2020Updated: July 28, 2020

The New South Wales (NSW) government announced on July 18 its fourth tranche of projects to be fast-tracked for assessment as part of its recovery plan to lift the economy out of the downturn caused by CCP virus.

Thirteen projects and proposal plans will have their planning assessment determined by August 14 through a four-week Planning System Acceleration Program. Once approved, the projects will need to commence construction or lodge development plans (DA) within six months.

The selected developments, including the first stage of Sydney Tech Hub at Central Station, and revamped town centres, are expected to inject $4.3 billion into the state economy and create opportunities for more than 8,400 new jobs.

NSW planning and public spaces minister, Rob Stokes, said the latest tranche would unlock billions of dollars of investment to propel the state’s economic rebound.

“The fast-tracked assessment program is a key part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan as we continue to get shovel-ready projects out the door to keep people in jobs and keep the economy moving,” he said in a statement.

The first stage of Sydney’s Tech Hub at Central Station proposed by NSW’s department of transport will be assessed for its re-zoning proposal. This will pave the way for the development of the world’s tallest hybrid timber tower by Atlassian.

The tech giant revealed its plans last month for a 180-metre high skyscraper on land owned by Transport for NSW.

The tower, to be anchored by Atlassian, is set to be the start of a 24-hectare innovation and technology precinct, Tech Central, which was dubbed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as Sydney’s “Silicon Valley.”

Western Sydney’s Blacktown CBD will also have its rezoning plan proposal determined by August 14.

Launched in April, the Planning System Acceleration Program completes the NSW government’s $83 million planning system reform which was a bid to support productivity, investment, and jobs during COVID-19. The reform aims to slash assessment times for rezoning, regionally significant developments, and State Significant Developments.

To be considered for the fast-track program, a development application (DA) or rezoning must already be in the state’s planning system, deliver a public benefit, and demonstrate an ability to create jobs during construction and once complete.

Projects will be reviewed for their public benefit and ability to create jobs, and priority will be given to transport infrastructure and green infrastructure, public spaces, and social and services infrastructure.

Stokes also said that the same stringent checks, balances, and community consultation would remain in place to ensure transparency, public benefit, and merit-based assessment.

By July 17, the program had seen a total of 67 projects determined with the potential to create almost 40,000 jobs, $17.7 billion in economic benefit, more than 18,000 homes, and more than 4 million square metres of open space, parks, and land for environmental conservation.

Some major projects approved in the previous tranche include the multi-billion-dollar Snowy 2.0 hydro project and the $2.6 billion Mamre rezoning plans in Western Sydney’s Aerotropolis; backed by a heavyweight development consortium comprising Mirvac, Frasers Property, Fife Capitol, Dexus, Stockland, GPT Group, and ESR.