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The New South Wales government has lowered the threshold used to assess the build of data centres and warehouses in a move to speed up the approval process.

Under the changed plans, the value threshold for data centres to be assessed as state significant development (SSD) will be lowered from AU$50 million to AU$30 million. The changes will be effective until 31 May 2023.

Other types of facilities that are typically assessed as SSD include new educational establishments, hospitals and correctional centres; tourist and recreation facilities; chemical and other manufacturing; and energy generating and waste management facilities. 

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said changing the assessment threshold would see more data centres and warehouses pushed through the planning system more quickly.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The move comes in addition to the state government allowing smaller data centres to be set up as complying development under changes made to the state environmental planning code.

“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 said.

Earlier this month, the state government had also proposed other reforms be made to the planning code

These included making it easier for businesses to reconfigure their parking lots to set up drive through “click and collect” bays and areas for no-contact pick up; reducing duplication and simplifying planning documents needed to set up or change business uses; allowing businesses to operate from 7am to 10pm in business zones or 24 hours in industrial zones regardless of their consent conditions; and allowing new uses to be set up such as function centres, medical facilities, food and drink venues without the need for a development application.


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