Pending approval, the NSW Government will fast-track 13 new projects, including the Tech Precinct at Central Station, under its Planning System Acceleration Program.
If approved, the projects could inject $4.3 billion into the NSW economy and create opportunities for more than 8,400 new jobs.
The new projects are to be determined within the next four weeks.
Among the tranche of projects is the first stage of Central Sydney’s technology transformation, as well as improved rail networks across the state.
These upgrades include major revamps for the Kensington to Kingsford light rail corridor, a billion-dollar renewal of Blacktown CBD and a new over-station development at the future Crows Nest Metro Station.
Improved freight rail capacity for south Sydney and Port Botany, the Narrabri to North Star section of the Inland Rail, a new educational facility in Campbelltown and a Cricket NSW Centre of Excellence at Sydney Olympic Park also made the list.
The major projects in the tranche are as follows:
- Narrabri North Star Phase 1: $700 million for improved freight rail access between Melbourne and Sydney, providing freight logistic opportunities for inland centres, including the Moree Special Activation Precinct, as part of the Inland Rail project.
- Botany Rail Duplication: $273 million for increased freight rail capacity to Port Botany
- Cabramatta Rail Loop: $115 million to create increased freight rail capacity on the Southern Sydney Freight Rail Line
- Horsley Drive Stage 2 – Building 1: $100 million for Stage 2 of Horsley Drive Business Park – warehouse and distribution facility to service smaller distribution centres and as a delivery service direct to retail customers.
- Cricket NSW Centre of Excellence: $49.6 million for a purpose built, dedicated, year-round cricket, training and administration facility to service both regional and metropolitan cricketers, to be the home of cricket in NSW. Includes facilities for aspiring junior cricketers to support sport, social, health and educational programs
- Modification to Badgerys Creek Quarry Project (Mod 4): $25 million for modifications to enable the continued operation of an existing quarry in Western Sydney, providing beneficial water transfers for the construction of the Western Sydney Airport and facilitating improvements in rehabilitation and landform outcomes that would integrate with the strategic planning for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.
- Western Sydney Green Gas Trial: $18 million for the first NSW development of a hydrogen gas facility including H2 gas generation, bus -refuelling station, gas supply into the Sydney gas network and electricity generation. Prototype for future green hydrogen projects.
- Warakirri College: $4 million for a new school for people aged between 15 and 22 with a capacity of up to 120 students
The tranche’s planning proposals are as follows:
- Blacktown CBD: $1.1 billion to rezone land in the Blacktown CBD to B4 Mixed Use and B3 Commercial Core, increase building heights, remove floor space ratio controls and introduce incentive building heights for key and gateway sites that achieves design excellence
- Wentworthville Town Centre: $690 million for the renewal of Wentworthville Town Centre, including change of use from B2 to SP2 zone, increase height of buildings and floor space ratio, and amend land acquisition provisions. Traffic bypass of main street, renewal of town centre
- Western Gateway – Central Station: $659 million for a State Significant Precinct (SSP) rezoning proposal for the first sub-precinct within the broader Central SSP. Proposes to set out planning controls for the Western Gateway sub-precinct to enable significant redevelopment of the site consistent with the NSW Government’s commitment to ‘Tech Central’.
- Kensington and Kingsford Town Centres: $385 million towards a planning proposal to increase the building height and floor space ratio controls and introduce new local provisions for the Kensington and Kingsford Town Centres under Randwick LEP 2012.
- Crows Nest Metro Station: $177 for state-led rezoning to increase the building height and floor space controls within the North Sydney LEP 2013 to enable development above the proposed Crows Nest Metro Station. Supports the construction and delivery of Crows Nest Metro Station.
NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister, Rob Stokes, said the fast-tracked assessment program was a key part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan, as it seeks to expedite shovel-ready projects to aid job retention and support the economy.
“To date, we’ve determined 67 projects through the Planning System Acceleration Program since it launched on 28 April, which has created the opportunity for almost 40,000 jobs, $17.7 billion in economic benefit, more than 18,000 homes and more than four million square metres of open space, parks and land for environmental conservation,” Mr Stokes said.
To be considered for a fast-tracked assessment through the Planning System Acceleration Program, a development application (DA) or rezoning must already be in the state’s planning system, deliver a public benefit and demonstrate an ability to create jobs during construction and once complete.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has selected projects that will be able to commence construction within six months (for a State Significant Development application or State Significant Infrastructure application) or where a DA could be lodged within six months (for a rezoning).
The same stringent checks, balances and community consultation that ensures transparency, public benefit and merit-based assessment of projects remain in place.
The Planning System Acceleration Program complements the NSW Government’s recent announcement of $83 million for the NSW Planning Reform Action Plan that will slash assessment times for rezonings, regionally significant developments and State Significant Developments.
Crucial infrastructure will bust congestion: ARA
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed the identification of key rail projects across the state for fast tracking as part of the acceleration program.
ARA Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, said that, if approved, the new projects would provide crucial stimulus for the state while creating infrastructure that will bust congestion and support NSW’s long-term growth.
“It is good to see the NSW Government recognise the significant community benefits rail delivers by accelerating these projects,” Ms Wilkie said.
“Infrastructure investment will be the cornerstone of our economic recovery and sustainable, long term rail projects will form an important part of that.”
Ms Wilkie said she looked forward to seeing these projects get underway sooner.
“The Inland Rail will transform our national freight network and create new opportunities for the regions,” she said.
“In Sydney, the Botany Rail Duplication will increase the use of rail freight and ease congestion on key commuter road networks surrounding the port precinct.
“This is a great example of improved project approvals processes making a real difference for businesses, jobs and the people that depend on them.”
The projects will now undergo fast tracked assessment through the Planning System Acceleration Program, with decisions to be made by 14 August.