With the demand for steady internet connectivity and remote working skyrocketing during the COVID-19 pandemic era, the government of New South Wales has announced escalating the development of data centers and e-commerce warehouses in the state.
In fact, reports have it that the data center and warehouse developments would qualify as State Significant Development (SSDs) in the region under planned changes to the state’s planning approvals process.
It has been claimed that the reforms, which are anticipated to come into effect from June 2021, will temporarily lower down the threshold for facilities to be assessed as SSD for 2 years to fast-track agreements, while simultaneously stimulating the economic activity.
It would be essential to note that the proposals are being assessed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, instead of local councils.
Speaking of the threshold, it has been predicted that the threshold for data centers would fall from $50 million CIV to 10 MW overall power consumption. Meanwhile, warehouses are likely to fall from $50 million CIV to $30 million CIV for a 2-year period, before bouncing back to $50 million CIV.
A source close to the department mentioned that the changes are poised to more accurately reflect the scale, potential impact, and complexity of the data centers and warehouses, giving in a transparent and more certain planning pathway for the state.
Rob Stokes, Planning Minister in NSW department stated that the new reforms would allow the project developments to travel through the planning system at a faster pace when the demand for data centers and warehouses is dramatically rising.
Stokes added that warehouses and data centers represent a $4.9 billion pipeline of projects in the state which means that by lowering the threshold to assess more of them as SSD, NSW is pushing them through the planning system more quickly.
On the other hand, Aidan Tudehope, Managing Director at Macquarie Telecom commented that the reforms are really practical and would potentially support NSW’s short-term economic recovery.