Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the NSW Government had seized upon the opportunity to quicken the approval processes for warehouses and data storage facilities by lowering the threshold for them to be assessed as State Significant Development (SSD).
For the next two years, we're told "the threshold for warehouses to be assessed as SSD will be lowered from $50 million to $30 million."
Stokes said: "During the pandemic, there has been a noticeable shift closer towards e-commerce, remote working and cloud storage which has led to an increase in data centres and warehouses.
“These are great for stimulating the economy – they’re simple to build, simple to assess and create a high number of direct and indirect jobs.
“Data centres and warehouses represent a $4.9 billion pipeline of projects so by lowering the threshold to assess more of them as State Significant Development, we are pushing them through the planning system more quickly.”
Stokes added that in addition to changing the threshold, the number of planning assessment officers would be boosted to help manage the demand.
The NSW Government also announced last week that smaller data centres could now be set up as complying development, subject to strict conditions.
“This means we’re making it easier to build small-scale data centres without lengthy planning approvals while providing a swifter pathway for large scale ones,” Stokes concluded.
The changes to the SSD assessment pathway are part of the NSW Government’s Planning Reform Action Plan announced last year. They will be in effect until 31 May 2023.
Guy Danskine, Managing Director, Equinix Australia said: “Equinix Australia welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement today to accelerate assessments of warehouse and data centres to speed up the planning approval process.
“With eight data centres in the State today, any legislative changes that speed up the planning system is an important step forward.”
More information on the NSW Govt's plans is here.