New Planning Framework for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis

Clive Cachia and Kirstie Richards

What Has Happened?

The NSW Government has played its hand in setting out the priorities for the proposed development of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis by releasing the draft Stage 1 Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan (Draft Stage 1 Plan).

Further to our earlier updates on the development of the Western Sydney Airport (see here and here), the Aerotropolis will serve as Western Sydney’s new economic hub to support the massive public and private investment needed to construct and operate this once in a lifetime infrastructure development.

The Draft Stage 1 Plan provides clarity on the proposed re-zonings and sequencing of development for the Aerotropolis. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) is seeking feedback on the Draft Stage 1 Plan until 2 November 2018. See link for details on how to make a submission on the Draft Stage 1 Plan.

Why Is It Important?

The Draft Stage 1 Plan prioritises the planning and development of three initial precincts designed to capitalise on the already established AUD5.3 billion investment by the Commonwealth Government for initial works with respect of the project.

The three initial precincts are as follows:

  1. Aerotropolis Core – designated to be a 1,055 hectare, 60,000 jobs and 8,000 homes precinct. It is proposed that this precinct will focused on a diverse suite of industries including defence and aerospace and high technology industries connected to potential new science, technology, engineering and mathematics based universities, an updated aerospace institute and a new public high school.
  2. Northern Gateway – designated to be a 1,120 hectare, 22,500 jobs and 3,400 homes precinct. The employment areas of this precinct will be focused on food technology and research, food production and processing, agribusiness, warehousing and logistics and other export-related activities.
  3. South Creek – designated to be a 1,950 hectare and 500 job precinct to promote the residential aspects of the Aerotropolis including community facilities, restaurants and cafes as well as promoting the environmental and ecologically friendly credentials of the proposed Western “Parkland” City (see link for details).

The proposed structure of the zoning of each of these initial precincts is shown on page 19 of the Draft Stage 1 Plan.

The initial precincts of the Aerotropolis Core and Northern Gateway offer the greatest growth potential given their close proximity to the site of the Western Sydney Airport and the joint Australian and NSW Government funded 3-year AUD10.6 billion work investment programme and proposed rail connections. The Aerotropolis Core and the Northern Gateway will be the focus of the DP&E in the next five years with South Creek to follow.

The remaining six precincts will be sequenced to match infrastructure investment and population and employment growth. Detail on how these remaining precincts will be rezoned will be provided in a second Stage 2 Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan which is yet to be released by the DP&E. However, the Draft Stage 1 Plan makes it clear that it will be possible for landowners and industry to accelerate precinct plans for later stages (subject to a range of provisos including that any such development must be at no cost to government, represent orderly development and be fully supported by enabling infrastructure).

The Plan proposes a new Western Sydney Development Authority to work with the Sydney Metro Authority and guide close collaboration across all levels of government. The proposed new Western Sydney Development Authority will be jointly governed by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments and will have broad powers and responsibilities to:

  • Acquire and consolidate land
  • Plan for infrastructure provision and co-ordination
  • Develop government-owned land (including potential joint ventures with private landowners
  • Assist with industry and other business attraction initiatives, and
  • Liaise with WSA Co.

What Do You Need to Do?

Private investors into the Western Sydney Aerotropolis need to:

  • Be aware of the re-zonings, infrastructure and timing proposed for each of the precincts and ensure that they make a submission on the Draft Stage 1 Plan to ensure it appropriately considers key investment priorities for the region, and
  • Ensure they collaborate at any early stage with the proposed new Western Sydney Development Authority and other government stakeholders in order to deliver their projects.

What Will Happen Next?

Following feedback on the Draft Plan, the DP&E will finalise the planning framework for the Aerotropolis by preparing:

  • The final Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan which will set the re-zoning of the Aerotropolis
  • A new State Environmental Planning Policy for the Aerotropolis to give effect to the final Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan, including the proposed re-zonings, and
  • State and local contributions plans to set the contributions required for the delivery of key infrastructure within the Aerotropolis.

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