Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the approval paved the way for a 22 hectare plot of vacant land in Leppington to be transformed into a Bunnings Warehouse and nursery by July next year.
“From home renovators to professional builders, the new Bunnings Warehouse will be a big boost for the community in Sydney’s south west,” Mr Stokes said.
The Bunnings Warehouse is the ninth project to have its assessment fast-tracked through the NSW Government’s Planning System Acceleration Program. The project will create opportunities for up to 400 jobs and inject $22 million into the NSW economy.
“Just over two weeks after announcing we would fast-track the assessment of shovel-ready projects, we’ve approved eight projects that will inject more than $1.9 billion into the state's economy and create opportunities for more than 16,000 jobs,” Mr Stokes said.
“The construction and development industries have played a crucial role in keeping the economy moving during COVID-19 – a role they will continue to play as we move out of the crisis.
“That’s why we have made a number of changes to planning legislation this week to provide more certainty and support to businesses, builders and the community.”
The NSW Government made temporary changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to:
- increase existing development consent lapse dates by an additional two years and guarantee new consents are provided a minimum lapse period of five years
- increase the time a business can remain closed or used for other purposes from one to three years before it loses its existing use rights
- double the amount of time a development consent decision can be appealed in the courts.
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 has also been updated to clarify the level of works needed to be done for a project to be considered ‘physically commenced’.
If a project has not begun – or ‘physically commenced’ – by the lapse date of its development consent, a new application would need to be lodged for the project to continue.
The changes set out a list of works that are not enough for a project to be considered physically commenced, such as acoustic testing, carrying out survey work or ground markings.
“These changes will provide more certainty, assurance and clarity during these uncertain times to support our businesses, communities and the State’s economic recovery,” Mr Stokes said.