Review of State Environmental Planning Policy

25 NOV 2020


Review of State Environmental Planning Policy (Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities) 2017

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has exhibited proposed amendments to State Environmental Planning Policy (Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities) 2007 (“Education SEPP”).

The Education SEPP commenced operation in September 2017 and sets out specific development controls applying to child care centres, schools, TAFEs and universities across the state.

The Department has undertaken a review of the SEPP and has identified a series of proposed amendments in an Explanation of Intended Effects. The proposed amendments are aimed at clarifying the operation and usability of the policy, as well as addressing community feedback regarding the impact of child care centre developments in the low density residential zone.

Some of the significant amendments that are proposed are:

  • Introducing minimum separation distance between centre based child care facilities on land situated within Zone R2 Low Density Residential pursuant to an environmental planning instrument. The Department states that it is considering a distance of at least 200 metres, with the intention of addressing the cumulative traffic and noise impacts of such developments when located in close proximity to one another.
  • Making “student housing” as referred to in the Housing Diversity SEPP Explanation of Intended Effect development that is permitted with consent within the boundaries of an existing educational establishment.
  • Increasing the maximum number of storeys of buildings that are allowed to be constructed by or on behalf of a public authority without development consent within an existing school, tertiary institution or TAFE from one to two storeys.
  • Introducing restrictions on hours of operation of school-based child care being carried out as exempt development.
  • Extension of the timeframe for removal of short-term portable classrooms installed as exempt development in existing schools from 24 months to 48 months.
  • Amending State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development 2011) to increase the capital investment value thresholds that capture school and tertiary institution development as state significant development, allowing local councils to assess developments falling beneath the new thresholds.
  • Updating the Child Care Planning Guideline to take into account amendments made to the National Construction Code relating to fire safety, include a requirement to consider the Department’s Local Character and Place Guideline in assessing child care centre developments and provide advice on cumulative impact assessment of child care centres in Zone R2 Low Density Residential.

The proposed amendments are detailed in full in the Explanation of Intended Effects, which is accessible on the NSW Planning Portal at

For further information on these planning and environmental law updates, please contact Adam Seton on or David Baird on or by phoning (02) 4626 5077.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.    

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