Industry Update – June 2020


Planning Monthly Update

 Illawarra-Shoalhaven Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC)
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment are preparing a SIC for the West Lake Illawarra (Dapto) and Nowra-Bomaderry (Nowra) release areas to coincide with the review of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan. Exhibition is expected later this year. These release areas have a capacity of 37,600 lots over 30-40 years. No further details are available at this time however this is one to keep on your radar if you already have a site or intend to develop in the Illawarra in the future. We don’t expect the SIC to come into force anytime soon as the Department appears to be reluctant to finalise the myriad of draft SIC’s that were exhibited in 2018 & 2019 until the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

A Housing Strategy for NSW
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment have released a Discussion Paper to inform a NSW Housing Strategy. The Strategy will guide housing supply for the next 20 years. The Discussion Paper focuses on housing supply, diversity, affordability and resilience to better match the housing needs of the city to housing demands. It’s good to see the Department conducting research into the housing needs of the State and the documents on exhibition include a Fact Book that analyses relevant housing data. This alone is worth taking a look at as a summary of the trends underpinning housing demand in NSW. The Discussion Paper is on exhibition until 24 July 2020 and we encourage all developers to put some thought into the questions raised in the Discussion Paper and make a submission particularly given this is the first step in a process that will shape the future of housing supply in Sydney and beyond for years to come.

Planning Acceleration Program
The Department have now determined the Tranche 2 projects and have released Tranche 3. There are a number of Planning Proposals within The Hills Shire and Blacktown City however as these benefit single developers these are unlikely to benefit the majority of our clients. Likewise the major project assessments won’t generate a lot of interest to our clients as they’re located outside the major greenfield growth corridors. We understand that there will be four tranches in all so we await the fourth and final instalment.

Capped Local Contributions
Industry Groups have been calling on the NSW Government to retain the cap on local contributions with the Growth Areas until the outcome of the NSW Productivity Commissioners review at the end of 2020 particularly given the significant other stimulus for housing evident in the Governments approach to COVID-19. This is of most concern to developers operating in the North West Growth Area where the uncapping of contributions is likely to have the greatest reach and financial impact. The Government has now announced that local developer contributions will be capped at $50,000 per dwelling from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 in Blacktown and The Hills LGAs.

Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport
Earlier this month the NSW & Commonwealth Governments announced federal funding for the new line from St Marys to the new Western Sydney Airport which will now be fast-tracked. Six station locations have been announced with developers and industry groups lobbying for the inclusion of a seventh.

Mamre Road Precinct Rezoning
The first Precinct within the Aerotropolis has now been rezoned having been fast-tracked as the first Precinct for release. The Precinct was extracted from the Aerotropolis planning process in recognition of the demand within Sydney for employment lands and the significant work that had already been undertaken. The Precinct has long been rumoured for release in 2020 so the decision should not come as a surprise to many however the impact of this land release will apply development pressure to adjacent land that is yet to be rezoned. The next steps in the planning process are the creation of a Development Control Plan and a local contributions plan. If you have land in the area it will be worth keeping an eye out for the exhibition of these documents and it could be worth revisiting our previous update regarding the Discussion Paper which proposes changes to Section 7.12 developer contributions.

If you’d like to make a submission regarding any of the above exhibitions or would like to discuss further please contact our Planning Expert, Nathan Croft on 0419 845 089 or at

Construction Monthly Update 

Drone Imagery and Recordings
Over the last few months, as Australian construction sites have avoided being placed on the ‘non-essential’ businesses list. While travel restrictions and social distancing have limited normal in-person visits, we have found a growing interest within the industry in harnessing the capabilities of drones has increased as job sites around Australia have still been requiring inspections and evaluations by various stakeholders.

With the ability to easily and safely capture high resolution digital imagery, flight recordings and generate and develop 3D models and point cloud data, drones within our industry are being used more than ever to monitor site progress and avoid costly design changes and delays in projects. Their ability to produce site visualisations to a high degree of accuracy has meant that inspection-related construction tasks such as site surveys, progress monitoring, safety compliance, and hazard identification can be done with the aid of drones, and potentially without need to step foot on site.

Although restrictions might be easing now across NSW, the demand for drones will not. As drone technology develops and we continue to see the shift from experimental use to essential use on site, the use of drones will mean:

  • Faster methods of communicating progress,
  • Live video streaming to remote and foreign stakeholders,
  • Visualised (AR/VR) integrated design models and video footages for use in marketing promotions,
  • Collaborative maps and measurements,
  • Improved project monitoring and automated data capture,
  • Conflicts being caught sooner rather later and thus reducing downtime, and
  • Hazard identification.

For more information about our Drone Imagery and Recording capabilities at Orion Consulting, please contact Chris Scholes on 0499 010 239 or
For more information on how we can assist with the delivery of any infrastructure or residential projects you may have, please contact our Construction Manager, Edmund Tsang on 0418 758 184 or at

Project Management  Monthly Update 

Homebuilder Grant
The Orion Project Management Team has been working hard through the current pandemic. Reports from developers indicate there has been a growth in enquiries and interest has increased. The introduction of the $25,000 dollar Homebuilder grant by the Federal Government has provided an additional incentive and we have seen it included in recent marketing updates for new house sales from several of our clients.

Regional News
Shellharbour City Council has adopted several key strategic planning documents. Of note within the funding in their Operational Plan is the Tripoli Way Extension design, this serves as a key link to several active developments from the Albion Park Bypass which is under construction. More information on this documentation and the announcement from Shellharbour City Council is in the link below.

Other regional councils with significant growth areas which also adopted their Operational Plans and Delivery Programs in June for 2020-2021 include Cessnock City Council, Maitland City Council, Wollongong City Council.

If you would like any advice or Orion to assist in reviewing any of the Council’s recently released operational or delivery plans and what impacts they may have on your development feel free to contact our Manager – Projects James Green

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