Data centres put in planning fast lane

The NSW government will accelerate planning approvals for the state’s $5 billion pipeline of data centres and boost the number of planning officers to manage demand for the next two years.

Rob Stokes

The threshold for data centres and warehouses to become subject to State Significant Development (SSD) planning regulations will be lowered from  $50 million to $30 million until May 2023.

Planning minister Rob Stokes says the move will help stimulate the State’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

“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.

“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.”

The government has also announced that smaller data centres can now be set up without lengthy planning approvals.

“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,” Mr Stokes said.

Developers have welcomed the announcement.

“With the initial NBN rollout now largely complete and the increased imperative for local, secure data storage capacity, this growth field for employment is appropriately recognised by today’s announcement,” Urban Taskforce CEO Tom Forrest said.

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