Central Sydney planning strategy

The strategy is the result of the detailed review of the planning controls that apply to Australia’s most productive and strategically important employment centre.

Published
Document cover with an aerial view of a city with tall buildings. A large green park with trees and smaller buildings is in the foreground.

Central Sydney is the engine room of the NSW economy. Our planning framework will ensure future growth occurs where it respects our special places, spaces and parklands, and is highly sustainable, resilient and responsive to climate change. With the significant investment in transport infrastructure, Central Sydney must support more jobs, while maintaining our quality of life.

Central Sydney has a limited capacity to grow and adapt because of its natural containment, heritage and the growth of residential development. Planning for growth therefore requires clear policies and careful management where the opportunity to grow employment floor space is protected from high residential demand and the effects of strata subdivision of prime land.

Balancing development opportunities with a growing population

The Central Sydney planning strategy is a 20-year growth strategy that revises previous planning controls and meets our Sustainable Sydney 2030 goals for a green, global and connected city.

Planning for development in Central Sydney means planning for Sydney’s ongoing competitiveness, appeal and resilience. The area plays a critical role in the continued growth and economic success of wider Sydney and the national economy.

Through 10 key moves, the strategy balances opportunities for development to meet the demands of growing numbers of workers, residents and visitors and their changing needs. It includes provisions for affordable housing, community facilities, open space and the essential services that will help these populations thrive.

It includes opportunities for more height and density in the right locations, balanced with environmental sustainability initiatives and sets criteria for excellence in urban design.

The Central Sydney planning strategy recognises Central Sydney’s role in metropolitan Sydney, NSW and Australia, and the need to maintain and grow its status as a global city with a dynamic economy and high quality of life. It celebrates and promotes Central Sydney’s many famous, loved and valued attributes. The strategy builds on past strategies to adapt to current needs and has a clear plan for action and implementation. It refocuses the current development environment that favours residential use of land towards accommodating employment needs while keeping a balance with social infrastructure and amenity.

It ensures that Central Sydney is well positioned to contribute to metropolitan Sydney being a globally competitive and innovative city that is recognised internationally for its social and cultural life, liveability and natural environment. The strategy presents key moves and planning controls amendments with the aim of providing certainty, consistency and continuity for planning.

Planning for Central Sydney

The Central Sydney planning strategy uses existing successful planning controls to ensure Central Sydney can continue to grow in service of its workers, residents and visitors. The planning framework provides a clear path for investment to help rebuild business confidence and support jobs in small and large businesses. It considers commercial development, hotel and visitor accommodation, cultural uses and retail alongside residential living.

Our Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision identifies a key goal of nurturing a competitive global Sydney. This updated framework aims to ensure Central Sydney maintains its role as Australia’s most productive and attractive city. It’s the first major review of the Central Sydney planning framework in 45 years and took years of study. 

Key changes include:

  • additional height and density in the most suitable locations
  • removing the incentive for residential towers
  • opportunities to unlock additional capacity for economic and employment growth
  • ensuring new development achieves design excellence through a revised design policy

Our city’s growth will need to be accompanied by new supporting infrastructure. To assist, a new contributions plan will help fund new and upgraded public spaces and infrastructure. This approach will improve and retain Sydney’s attractiveness as Australia’s premier business district and global city.

Central Sydney planning strategy

A 20-year growth strategy that delivers on our Sustainable Sydney 2030 program for a green, global and connected city. Through 10 key moves, the strategy balances opportunities for development to meet the demands of growing numbers of workers, residents and visitors and their changing needs in Central Sydney.

Central Sydney planning strategy overviewPDF · 10.89 MB · Last modified
AddendumPDF · 701.01 KB · Last modified
Central Sydney planning strategyPDF · 53.13 MB · Last modified

Central Sydney planning strategy attachments

A list of technical studies that supports the 10 key moves outlined in the Central Sydney planning strategy.

Central Sydney planning strategy – appendicesPDF · 2.14 MB · Last modified
Central Sydney planning strategy – appendix H – open spacesPDF · 3.63 MB · Last modified
Central Sydney planning strategy – appendix I – wind studyPDF · 4.91 MB · Last modified
Central Sydney planning strategy – appendix J – tall buildings studyPDF · 11.11 MB · Last modified
Central Sydney planning strategy – appendix L – views studyPDF · 5.91 MB · Last modified