Property and Infrastructure Specialists

Aerotropolis Update: Insights into the Aerotropolis Rezonings and Planning Package (Part 1)

Earlier this week, the NSW Government announced the forthcoming rezoning of the five initial precincts in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis. The initial precincts comprise some 6,500 hectares of rural lands around the Western Sydney (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport which will be transformed to support 100,000 new jobs and 30,000 residents once fully developed.
Aerotropolis Update: Insights into the Aerotropolis Rezonings and Planning Package (Part 1)

The announcement was accompanied by the Final Aerotropolis Planning Package including:

  • The Western Sydney Aerotropolis Plan 2020
  • Structure Plan - outlining key road and rail infrastructure and land use for the 10 precincts making up the Aerotropolis
  • The State Environmental Planning Policy (Western Sydney Aerotropolis) 2020 which commences on 1 October 2020 (hereafter referred to as the Aerotropolis SEPP)
  • A Western Sydney Aerotropolis Development Control Plan (DCP)
  • A Finalisation Report prepared by the Planning Partnership which has considered the 700+ submissions received against the exhibited package earlier this year
  • A New Ministerial Direction 7.8 Implementation of Western Sydney Aerotropolis Plan – to be considered as part of any planning proposal application
  • An Amendment to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 for complying development certificates in the Aerotropolis.

What is being Rezoned?

Come 1 October 2020, approximately 6,500 hectares of lands in the Aerotropolis will be rezoned upon the commencement of the new Aerotropolis SEPP. The ‘initial precincts’ include:

  • Aerotropolis Core – A mix of Government and privately held lands which will make up the Central Business District of the new Aerotropolis; the ‘Global Airport City’. Positioned to the south-east of the Airport the precinct will be home to most of the future residents in the Aerotropolis as well as multiple hubs with jobs in manufacturing, research and development, health and education, aerospace, defence, commercial, retail and civic uses.

Zoning – Mixed Use

  • Agribusiness Precinct – Stretching the western side of the Airport and the newly upgraded Northern Road, this precinct is earmarked to be a catalyst for high value, local agricultural production and exports. It will include world leading integrated intensive production, logistics and fresh food hubs together with a new centre of excellence in food innovation with supporting education and retail.

Zoning – Agribusiness

  • Badgerys Creek - Lands to the east of the Airport nestled along the western banks of South Creek will be zoned to support a wide range of employment uses. With synergies and excellent access to the operations of the Airport, this precinct will support defence and aerospace operations as well as larger enabling industries in waste management, building and materials production.

Zoning – Enterprise

  • Northern Gateway - With major interfaces to the Airport, future M12 Motorway and Outer Orbital this precinct will accommodate high technology industries, commercial, warehousing and logistics. Universities and other major research institutions have set their eyes on this precinct to be developed around its own commercial centre. This precinct is also home to the Sydney Science Park which will also generate thousands of knowledge jobs and accommodate future residents.

Zoning – Enterprise

  • Wianamatta – South Creek – The ‘green and blue lungs’ of the new Aerotropolis spanning along the banks of South Creek and it’s major tributaries. Doubling as an infrastructure corridor to support future development, this precinct will provide plenty of opportunities for soft-interfacing recreational infrastructure, cultural and community facilities as well as creek-side restaurants and cafes.  

Zoning – Environment and Recreation


Alternative Approaches to Zoning

The new zonings introduced under the Aerotropolis SEPP differ to the zonings implemented under the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan (LEP) which apply to most lands in NSW. They have been designed to be deliberately broad in their application of permissible activities to attract investment and promote a genuine diversity of land use outcomes including emerging and high technology industries.

A simple way of understanding the new zonings is provided as follows:

  • The Mixed-Use Zone is the only zone in the Aerotropolis that permits residential development in addition to most other types of land uses. Think of this as comparable to the B4 Mixed Use zoning that we are familiar with, developed with a greater level of flexibility.
  • The Enterprise Zone covers most lands in the Aerotropolis and is an equally flexible employment zone, permitting most forms of industries and commercial activities. Interestingly, rural and heavy industries are prohibited.
  • The Agribusiness Zone is probably the most complex zoning under the Aerotropolis SEPP. Large holdings are zoned to accommodate broad-scale agricultural and rural industries, logistics and processing operations as well as supporting retail activities. This zoning prohibits caravan parks, child care centres, heavy industries, hotel or motel accommodation, recreational facilities, registered clubs, residential accommodation and more. It will be interesting to see the viability of this zoning and the subsequent take up and development of lands over the next 5-10 years.
  • The Environment and Recreation Zone is generally equivalent to the RE1 Public Recreation Zone under the Standard Instrument LEP. The key difference is that restaurants and cafes are permitted in the new zone.
  • The SP2 Infrastructure Zone has also been rolled out under the SEPP. This covers the land within the Airport site and other key transport infrastructure corridors. It is anticipated that this zoning will be extended in the future to cover the proposed Sydney Water Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling Centre.

The Precinct Plans

Precinct Plans are proposed to be implemented under the Aerotropolis DCP (Phase 2) to provide a greater level of detailed design and character objectives for areas within the initial precincts. Precinct Plans are likely to focus land use outcomes and development controls based on proximity to the Airport, the Aerotropolis Core and key transport infrastructure. They will include a more granular level of detail around road and block patterns, densities, locations of open space and recreational facilities, natural features to be managed in perpetuity and buffer zones.

The Planning Partnership have been developing the Precinct Plans for the initial precincts which will be publicly exhibited later this year. Once finalised, further amendments to the SEPP and DCP will be developed and exhibited. For developers and landowners, the Precinct Plans will provide that additional level of detail around development intent and land capacity required to make more informed investment and divestment decisions.

Whilst Government will lead the development of Precinct Plans the process will be openly collaborative with developers and land owners.

Master Plans: How are they different to the Precinct Plans?

Master Plans are detailed under Division 2 of the SEPP. They must apply to an area of at least 100 hectares or more of contiguous land and be in the initial precincts. As a key point of difference to precinct plans they must specify the development that may be carried out as ‘complying development’ on the land and include controls around those types of complying development. Complying development under the SEPP is development that may be carried out with consent in line with an endorsed Master Plan and in line with an Aerotropolis Certificate.

Master Plans can be prepared by anyone for lands that meets the requirements outlined under Clause 43 of the SEPP and need to be approved by the Minister.

Master Plan guidelines are presently being developed by the Planning Partnership and will be exhibited later this year. More details around the processes for Master Plans will be included in the guidelines and this presents an exciting prospect for those master planners and urban designers looking to be involved in the initial precincts. 

Infrastructure Compact

The Western Sydney Place-Based Infrastructure Compact (PIC) will identify and estimate the costs of delivery crucial infrastructure and services required to support the growth of the Aerotropolis over time. The PIC is led by the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) and includes representatives from across the three tiers of government and their agencies. It will consider requirements for State and local infrastructure including roads, parks, recreational and community facilities.

The PIC will consider a range of funding options to deliver infrastructure in the Aerotropolis and its work will ultimately inform precinct planning and master plans. The work will again need to be approached openly and collaboratively with the private sector to deliver the best outcomes for development in the initial precincts.

The work undertaken to date will inform a new Special Infrastructure Contributions Plan (SIC) for the Aerotropolis and Local Section 7.11 Plans for Liverpool and Penrith Councils which are also anticipated to be publicly exhibited later this year / early next year.

In Part 2 we will be providing some more insights into:

  • The Aerotropolis DCP (Phase 1)
  • Key Urban Design Philosophies
  • Timing to Delivery of Infrastructure
  • Details around Lodging a Development Application or Complying Development Application

APP has been working across Western Sydney’s evolving precincts for 20 years. We continue to work with numerous land owners, developers and other clients across the Aerotropolis. Please feel free to contact our team if you have questions or are looking at opportunities in the Aerotropolis.

APP Planners

Josh Owen

Josh Owen - Senior Associate Planner

Josh provides expert advice to help landowners derive maximum value from their assets and specialises in scoping, identifying and creating new development projects. Contact Josh

Allison Smith - Executive Manager, Urban Development

Allison Smith - Executive Manager, Urban Development

Allison is an industry-leading provider of value-generating development services, constantly at the forefront of the rapidly evolving market. Contact Allison

Peter Alevizos - Senior Project Manager

Peter Alevizos - Senior Project Manager

Peter is a Senior Project Manager focussing on all aspects of the property lifecycle. He specialises in early stages of development from due diligence, feasibility and master planning to planning control amendments through rezoning. Contact Peter.

Simon Kinsey - Project Director

Simon Kinsey - Project Director

Simon is a highly skilled project director with more than 17 years’ experience in the industry, spanning a career from urban development to infrastructure projects. Contact Simon. 

Aidan Werry - Project Director

Aidan Werry - Project Director

Aidan Werry brings a distinctive set of skills to our Urban Development team. As Project Director, he manages property development projects from concept to construction, focusing particularly on due diligence, feasibility studies, development strategy and masterplanning. Contact Aidan.