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Industrial Lands Policy Review

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Industrial and urban services lands play a critical role in supporting Greater Sydney's economy, although in many places this role has changed over time. A wide range of activities operate in these areas, from heavy industry and manufacturing, to cultural and creative uses.

Prior to the current Greater Sydney Region Plan - A Metropolis of Three Cities, there was no coordinated city-wide approach to managing industrial and urban services lands.


Since mid-2021, the Commission has been leading a multi-agency review of the Industrial and Urban Services Lands Retain and Manage policy (the Policy) under the Greater Sydney Region Plan. The Policy applies to 159 industrial areas in Greater Sydney.

The review of the Policy (the Review) responds to Recommendation 7.5 of the NSW Productivity Commission's 2021 White Paper:

"Evaluate the retain-and-manage approach to managing industrial and urban services land in Greater Sydney against alternative approaches, to identify what would maximise net benefits to the State. Adopt the approach that maximises the State's welfare in the next update to the Greater Sydney Region Plan."

The Review is being delivered in consultation with the NSW Productivity Commission, Investment NSW, Transport for NSW and the Department of Planning and Environment.

The Review process to date has considered stakeholders perspectives, advice from international experts, business insights and technical analysis. The following has formed a robust evidence base to support the Review:

Stakeholder engagement
  • Engagement on benefits, challenges and opportunities.
  • Engagement on the policy objectives and policy scenarios (developed through the Review).
  • Engagement on the preliminary key findings focusing on how ‘manage’ is defined and the proposed classification approach.
Advice from international experts
  • Previous research on industrial lands.
  • Advice on policy objectives and policy scenarios.
Business insights
  • In-depth business interviews undertaken across a range of sectors and locations.
Technical analysis
  • Data analysis for the ‘Retain and Manage’ precincts across Greater Sydney.
  • Fine grain investigation of a representative cross-section of 20 select precincts.
  • Cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria assessment of policy scenarios.


What we heard

We have undertaken extensive stakeholder engagement as part of the Review.  

In July and August 2021, we engaged with an Industry Reference Group and a Local Government Reference Group, established as part of the Review, as well as NSW Government agencies on:  

  • The benefits and challenges of the existing Policy. 

  • Opportunities for the future. 

We received 53 submissions. Submissions are published in the table below in alphabetical order by organisation name, except where anonymity has been requested. 

We held a second round of engagement in October 2021 targeted at industry, peak bodies, advocacy groups and local councils to: 

  • Provide an update on the progress of the Review.  

  • Seek feedback on the objectives that we will aim to achieve through the Policy and the high-level policy scenarios proposed to deliver on these objectives.

A total of 50 submissions were received during the submissions period. There was general support for all the policy objectives proposed, with ‘Securing industrial capacity’, ‘Supporting sustainability aspirations’ and ‘Optimising supply chains’ the most strongly supported. Scenario 1 was the most supported approach, with numerous benefits identified in relation to Scenario 2.

To find out more about what we heard, read our engagement report.

Project Review update - April 2022

The Review has identified the need to evolve the Policy to respond to the changing nature of land use needs in Greater Sydney. It has highlighted the importance of a policy that considers the future needs of the city - one that ensures a connected, productive, and effective network of industrial lands.

The current Policy has been successful in providing certainty and a clear market signal for landowners to invest in industrial development, while reducing unproductive land speculation that was at odds with the strategic vision for Greater Sydney. An update to the Policy will enable the continued protection of industrial lands, while maximising the productivity of these lands for the State’s welfare.

The Review has highlighted:

  • The value of, and need to secure, industrial capacity to ensure there is sufficient land and allowable floor area, of the right types, to meet the State’s industrial needs now and in the future.
  • The importance of supporting economic resilience and future business investment, especially at a time when there is increased demand for industrial lands.
  • There are circumstances where some industrial lands could transition to alternative uses, including residential, office and medical/health services.
  • Encroachment from competing uses can be detrimental to industrial lands and that some safeguarding is necessary to ensure that productivity of Greater Sydney and economic functionality is not compromised.

To read more about the Review, including key findings to date, read our December Project Update.

In early 2022 we consulted a Council Working Group, established as part of the Review process, on the key findings with particular focus on how ‘manage’ is defined and the proposed classification approach. Following this, we engaged with NSW Government agencies, local councils and industry via two stakeholder information sessions. A session recording along with the supporting information pack can be viewed below:

Based on this engagement, the Commission is currently refining the classification approach to support the interim implementation of the Review findings. The interim classification of ‘Retain and Manage’ lands will be informed by an evidence-led process and an evaluation framework. This classification will reflect the strategic importance of an industrial area based on its contribution to the economy and its role in performing city-wide functions.

Next Steps

To finalise the Review we will publish a Findings paper, including Policy recommendations, in mid-2022. This paper will be supported by a final engagement report and technical analysis.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders on the Policy design and approach to implementation of any Policy changes.

More information

For more information, please email the project team via industriallandsreview@gcc.nsw.gov.au.

In parallel with the Review, the Department of Planning and Environment has reviewed of the existing employment zones (Industrial and Business Zones) and land uses under the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan (LEP) Order to ensure the zones are fit for purpose. We have worked closely with the Department throughout the Review to ensure clarity around the synergies and differences of both projects. For more information, visit the Employment zones reform page.

Document library

Project establishment and scope

Project Scope of Work for Technical Consultants (PDF, 244KB)

Terms of Reference (PDF, 169KB)

Review Precincts (PDF, 438KB)

Vision, objectives and scenarios

Overview of vision, objectives and scenarios (PDF, 416KB)

Stakeholder Engagement

Engagement Report (PDF, 5.4MB)

Project Update October 2021 (PDF, 661KB)

Q&As (PDF, 346KB)

Industry information session recording (October 2021)

Local Government information session recording (October 2021)

Project Update December 2021 (PDF, 4.88MB)

Stakeholder information session recording

Stakeholder information pack (PDF, 1.95MB)

Technical analysis

Preliminary technical status report (PDF, 1MB)