The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (Department) is proposing changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (Infrastructure SEPP) and the introduction of a new State Environmental Planning Policy (Education Establishments and Child Care Facilities) 2017 (Draft Education and Child Care SEPP).

Public submissions on both of these SEPPs can be made until 7 April 2017 via the Department’s website.

Infrastructure SEPP: what’s changing?

The purpose of the Infrastructure SEPP is to facilitate the effective delivery of infrastructure across the State by providing greater flexibility in the location of infrastructure and services facilities and streamlining the approvals process for infrastructure specified under the SEPP. The Department commenced a review of the Infrastructure SEPP in early 2016 and identified the need to simplify and improve the delivery of social infrastructure such as health and educational facilities.

Key proposed changes include the introduction of new or expanded provisions for:

  • Health services facilities
  • Police services facilities and police stations
  • Infrastructure delivery on Council operational lands
  • Commuter hubs, including train stations and bus stops
  • Sewerage and water lead-in infrastructure

The proposed changes are designed to make it easier and faster for public authorities to deliver and maintain a broader range of social infrastructure under the SEPP.

The review also proposes a number of other amendments to operational matters and minor “housekeeping” amendments (such as ensuring consistent definitions with the Standard LEP). Further details about the proposed amendments can be found in the Explanation of Intended Effect.

Introduction of a new Education and Child Care SEPP

The new Education and Child Care SEPP aims to address the growing demand for suitable and affordable child care facilities and the need for high quality school and tertiary institutions by streamlined and consolidated planning controls.

The provisions relating to educational establishments which are currently in the Infrastructure SEPP are proposed to be transferred to the new Education and Child Care SEPP, which will also expand the range of educational facilities which may be developed as exempt and complying development. The new SEPP will also seek to ensure that new school facilities are well designed by requiring certain developments to take into consideration the design quality principles contained in the Better Schools: A design guide for schools in NSW (which is also on exhibition).

The new Education and Child Care SEPP seeks to consolidate and streamline the State and National requirements for the following 4 types of early childhood education and care facilities in the one location:

  • Centre-based child care;
  • School-based child care
  • Home-based child care and
  • Mobile child care.

For example, the new SEPP enables some types of early childhood education and care facilities to be undertaken as exempt or complying development and adopts key requirements from the National Quality Framework into the SEPP for assessment of early childhood education and care facilities.

The proposed changes also include an update to all Local Environmental Plans to include the national definitions of early childhood and care facilities as well as to permit child care facilities in all R2 Low Density and IN2 Light Industrial zones.

Further information about the Draft Education and Child Care SEPP can be found in the Explanation of Intended Effect on the Department’s website.