What is the Employment Zone Reform?

    The NSW Government is introducing new employment zones through a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP). 

    This will replace existing Business (B) and Industrial (IN) zones with five new employment zones (E) and three supporting zones. 

    The new zones include:

    Existing zones
    Business and Industrial zones
    New zone
    Employment zones
    B1 Neighbourhood CentreE1 Local Centre
    B2 Local Centre
    B3 Commercial CoreE2 Commercial Centre
    B5 Business Development (not currently included in the Wollongong LEP)E3 Productivity Support
    B6 Enterprise Corridor
    B7 Business Park
    IN1 General Industrial E4 General Industrial 
    IN2 Light Industrial 
    IN3 Heavy Industrial 

    Supporting Zones
    B4 Mixed UseMU1 Mixed Use
    IN4 Working WaterfrontW4 Working Waterfront
    B8 Metropolitan Centre (not currently included in the Wollongong LEP 2009) SP4 Enterprise

    Why is the NSW State Government proposing this change?

    In November 2020, the NSW Government announced reforms to employment lands (both Business and Industrial zoned lands). These reforms followed the reviews by the Australian and NSW Productivity Commissions to support economic growth and productivity. Their recommendation was to rationalise the number of employment zones in NSW and to increase flexibility within the new zones to help expand land-use permissions.

    Why should I be interested in the new employment zones?

    Land use zones defines what land can and can’t be used for. This means, the new employment zones may affect what you can and cannot do on your land and what can happen in your local centre or industrial area.

    If you have any future development plans for your property, they may be impacted by these changes.

    My property and/or business is in the new employment zones. What are the proposed changes?

    The main change will be the name of the zone. There will also be changes to land use tables, including permissible and prohibited land uses, land use objectives, new and amended land use definitions and other local provisions in Wollongong Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2009.

    The detailed changes being proposed for your land can be viewed by visiting the Department's Planning Portal and using the ‘Employment Zones search by address’ tab.

    Other proposed changes specific to Wollongong LEP 2009 include:

    • Remove residential flat buildings as a permissible use with consent in the new E1 Local Centre zone
    • Remove shop-top housing and serviced apartments as a permissible use with consent in the new E3 Productivity zone
    • Insert a new Additional Permitted Use under Schedule 1 of Wollongong LEP 2009 to allow shop-top housing and serviced apartments on certain land zoned E3 Productivity Zone, along Flinders Street, North Wollongong.
    • Remove heavy industries as a permissible use with consent in the new E4 General Industrial zone
    • Remove recreation facilities (indoor) and takeaway food and drink premises as a permissible use with consent in the E5 zone.
    • Insert a new local provision for Wollongong’s Retail and Business Centres Hierarchy, to ensure development is compatible with the centre’s role and position in the hierarchy. 
    • Amend Clause 7.11 in WLEP 2009 Location of sex service premises to also include restricted premises.

    There are no changes proposed to other LEP controls such as maximum building height, floor space ratio (FSR) and minimum lot size.

    We encourage you to read the Department’s exhibition material to find out how your property and/or business is going to be impacted.

    Are the zoning boundaries changing?

    No changes to zone boundaries are proposed.

    What is currently being exhibited by Department of Planning and Environment?

    From Tuesday 31 May to Tuesday 12 July, the Department is exhibiting an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) alongside implementation detail including how they intend to replace existing Business and Industrial zones with Employment zones within individual LEPs.

    The EIE gives an overview of the reform and explains the LEP implementation approach. The Department is seeking feedback from community and stakeholders across NSW about this implementation.

    What is an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE)?

    An Explanation of Intended Effect outlines the impact of proposed amendments to the NSW planning system. It summarises proposed amendments to Standard Instruments, Orders and State Environmental Planning Policies, and their intended effects.

    How does the exhibition of the draft EIE affect a development application or Planning Proposal already submitted to Council?

    The current land use zones and controls in Wollongong Local Environmental Plan 2009 will continue to apply until the Minister for Planning approves the SEPP and LEP amendments are made.

    The anticipated timeframe for this is December 2022.

    However, once the draft SEPP is placed on public exhibition, it does have some status under planning legislation and is to be taken into consideration when assessing new Development Applications (DAs). This would also apply to Planning Proposals proposing to change zoning.

    How will the changes affect the operation of business?

    Due to the proposed zone transition, there will be some changes to land uses that previously may have been allowed, but because of the transition, are now prohibited under the new zonings.

    For example, recreation indoor facilities and takeaway food and drink premises are proposed to be no longer permitted in the E5 Heavy Industrial zone in Wollongong LEP 2009.

    If your current land use is now prohibited under the new zonings but was lawfully commenced prior to the SEPP commencing, you can continue this use.

    When will we see the changes in the Wollongong LEP 2009?

    The new employment zones came into effect within the Standard Instrument Principal Local Environmental Plan (LEP) on 1 December 2021. This introduced the new employment zones alongside the existing B and IN zones and enables implementation into individual local environmental plans to begin.

    The employment zone framework is proposed to come into effect within LEPs when a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) is made in December 2022.

    This will amend individual LEPs prepared under the Standard Instrument LEP Order, including Wollongong LEP 2009.

    How can I make a submission on the draft EIE?

    You can make a submission to Department of Planning and Environment using their online web form via www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/employment-zones.

    Submissions close on Tuesday 12 July.

    Do I need to send a submission to Council?

    No, please make your submission to the Department of Planning and Environment. Council will also be making a submission to the Department.

    What will happen after the exhibition closes?

    After the close of exhibition, the Department has advised that it will share the community’s feedback with us, and we will continue to work with the Department to address any concerns and help finalise proposed LEP amendments.