The NSW government has introduced changes to environmental planning laws which make it possible for supermarkets and pharmacies to operate around the clock during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation introduced on Wednesday also affects planning approval processes, retail waste disposal regulations and home business operations.
“These orders cut red tape so we can move quickly and decisively to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of our community during this time,” planning minister Rob Stokes said.
The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 allows Mr Stokes to override planning controls that have previously restricted hours of retail operation.
Mr Stokes says the move will ensure the community has access to food, medical supplies and essential household goods when they need it as the crisis unfolds.
It also means that hotels and motels will now be able to provide food and beverages 24 hours a day and stores will be able to get rid of waste at any time.
It comes after the government last week introduced policies allowing supermarkets to receive deliveries at any time of the day in response t concerns that council curfews were fueling panic buying, as reported by Government News.
The order will also allow home-based businesses to operate at any time and boosts the number of people that can be employed subject to social distancing rules.
“The order allows home businesses to operate 24 hours per day and to employ more than two people other than the permanent residents of the dwelling, but not more than five people, providing they can abide by social distancing rules,” the government order says.
However other conditions still apply including ensuring home businesses don’t have an adverse impact on the amenity of the neighbourhood including noise, smell, fumes or waste products.
“This is important as more and more people work from home and need flexible working arrangements,” Mr Stokes said.
The legislative changes also mean the planning minister can now make an order for any development that protects the health, welfare and safety of the community during the pandemic to proceed without the normal development approvals.
It also removes the requirement for councils to display physical copies of planning documents.
Development applications, Environmental Impact Statements, registers of development consents, complying development certificates and construction certificates will become available on the NSW Planning Portals and council websites.
Current exhibition periods are not affected.
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