Change in our employment lands
In March 2015 Council and the Central Sydney Planning Committee (CSPC) adopted new planning controls for the Employment Lands. Amendments to the Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 are currently being prepared.
The City’s employment lands in the south of our local area are some of the most strategically important in NSW. A range of businesses are currently located in the area, between Sydney Airport and the city centre. These include industrial activities, such as manufacturing, wholesale trade, transport and logistics related industries, postal activities and warehousing.
The employment lands are currently zoned mainly for industrial purposes, however changes in the Australian economy mean there is less need for industrial-zoned land close to the inner-city. New forms of business and enterprise are emerging, such as high tech industry, creative spaces and retail and distribution facilities. These activities require flexible places to locate and grow close to their customers at the airport and inner-city.
The new planning controls will allow for the transition of the employment lands from areas of traditional industrial uses and low density employment to places of more diverse business activity and employment opportunities. Up to 9,000 more workers are expected to work in the employment lands over the next 15 years as a result of the changes.
Planning for the employment lands
In 2012, the City commissioned SGS Economics and Planning to prepare the City of Sydney employment lands study. The study assessed the long-term demand for industrial and business-zoned employment land within the City of Sydney.
The study was informed by extensive consultation with landowners and occupiers, adjoining communities, business operators and organisations with a strategic interest in the area, such as Sydney Airport and Port Botany.
In June 2013 the study and the draft employment lands strategy were publicly exhibited to guide the preparation of new planning controls for the employment lands. Following further consultation and consideration of submissions, the strategy was adopted by Council in June 2014.
The strategy focuses on securing Sydney’s economic future by retaining essential employment lands and making space for more businesses and new jobs. The strategy also allows for some housing, including affordable housing, in suitable locations.
In June 2014 Council and the CSPC approved for public exhibition draft planning controls for the employment lands and supporting technical studies. Council also approved the preparation and public exhibition of a draft affordable housing program.
The draft controls and draft affordable housing program were publicly exhibited from November to December 2014. Following consideration of over 60 submissions Council and the CSPC adopted new planning controls in March 2015, including:
- a planning proposal to amend the Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012
- an amendment to the Sydney Development Control Plan 2012
- the Employment Lands Affordable Housing Program.
The planning proposal has been referred to parliamentary counsel for legal drafting and once finalised Council can amend the Sydney LEP 2012 on behalf of the Minister for Planning.
The amendment to the Sydney DCP 2012 will come into effect when changes to the Sydney LEP 2012 commence.
Some of the jobs that will locate in the employment lands will be for low paid workers who are essential to our economy, such as childcare workers, cleaners and bus drivers. In addition, general demand for the services provided by low income workers will increase as a result of new business and employment locating in the area.
It is essential that low income workers are able to access appropriate and affordable housing close to where they work.
The new planning controls include 2 approaches to encourage the provision of affordable rental housing close to new jobs. This includes a new levy that will apply to much of the area, as well as some zoning flexibility for affordable housing providers. The employment lands affordable housing program provides a framework for the implementation and operation of these approaches.
Draft guideline for site specific planning proposal requests
Two investigation areas have been identified within the employment lands that have potential for some market housing where it supports sustainable growth in the employment lands.
The draft Guideline to Preparing Site Specific Planning Proposal Requests in the City of Sydney Employment Lands Investigation Areas is to provide a transparent and consistent framework to guide future changes to planning controls as the areas develop. The draft guideline:
- provides land use and built form principles to guide the preparation of site specific planning proposal requests
- provides information about how changes to planning controls can support infrastructure delivery, including the delivery of affordable rental housing
- provides information about how site specific planning proposal requests will be evaluated
- describes the City’s priorities for infrastructure to support growth
- describes the process for preparing a site specific planning proposal request, including required supporting documentation, applicable fees, preparing a planning agreement and the decision making process.
The draft guideline is on exhibition for public comment until 25 May 2015. The City will consider all submissions received in finalising the draft guideline.
For further information about the employment lands you can contact:
Senior Specialist Planner
02 9265 9743 firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: Monday, 27 April 2015