Planning approvals for data centres and warehouses will be assessed under a new accelerated pathway to help stimulate the post-pandemic economic recovery, the NSW government has announced.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the government had jumped at the opportunity to quicken the approval processes for warehouses and data storage facilities by lowering the threshold for them to be assessed as State Significant Development (SSD).

Under the plan, the threshold for warehouses to be assessed as SSD will be lowered from $50 million to $30 million for the next two years. Mr Stokes said in addition to changing the threshold, the number of planning assessment officers would be boosted to help manage the demand.

“During the pandemic, there has been a noticeable shift closer towards e-commerce, remote working and cloud storage which has led to an increase in data centres and warehouses,” he said.

“These are great for stimulating the economy – they’re simple to build, simple to assess and create a high number of direct and indirect jobs.

“Data centres and warehouses represent a $4.9 billion pipeline of projects so by lowering the threshold to assess more of them as State Significant Development, we are pushing them through the planning system more quickly.”

The NSW government also announced smaller data centres could now be set up as complying development, subject to strict conditions.

“This means we’re making it easier to build small-scale data centres without lengthy planning approvals while providing a swifter pathway for large scale ones,” he said.

The changes to the SSD assessment pathway are part of the NSW Government’s Planning Reform Action Plan announced last year.

They will be in effect until 31 May 2023.