Five core employment zones proposed

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch (right), with Planning Minister, Rob Stokes

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 meant that council Local Environmental Plans would have fewer zones that determine the type of business activities allowed on local sites.

“What we’ve learned through COVID-19 is that businesses could be building engineering components one month then manufacturing hand sanitiser the next,” he said.

“This is why we need the system to be agile to support employment in our modern economy.

“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,” Stokes said.

The five core proposed employment zones are:

E1 Local Centre will provide for a range of retail business, entertainment, community uses that service a local area; while the E2 Commercial Centre zone will take in large-scale commercial, retail, business and service development in strategic centres.

The E3 Productivity Support zone will cover a mix of industrial, commercial, creative, warehousing and emerging new industries that need larger floor space.

A General Industrial zone (E4) will be for light and general industrial and warehousing uses providing important urban services like waste management and concrete batching; while E5 Heavy Industrial will cover hazardous and industries with odour and noise impacts that need to be separated from other urban areas.

Minister Stokes said that the new system would represent significant economic reform, greater business certainty and a reduction in red tape, such as fewer 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.

“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.

The proposed employment zones’ framework is open for public submissions until June 30.

Media release, May 20
NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister, Rob Stokes