THE NSW Government last week said it has responded to shifts in the retail landscape by proposing a new package of planning amendments to enable the retail industry to respond to the changing needs and expectations of consumers.
The changes follow recommendations made in late 2017 by the Retail Expert Advisory Committee (REAC) – an independent committee made up of industry experts established and tasked with finding what improvements can be made in planning for the sector.
The Department of Planning and Environment's Deputy Secretary of Policy and Communications, Alison Frame, said the proposed changes will see the NSW planning system adapting to meet the needs of this dynamic industry.
"With technology continuing to transform and disrupt retail, the NSW planning system is responding. This industry has seen substantial change over the past 10 years, driven by technology and consumer demand," Ms Frame said.
"We're seeing a shift in customer expectations – they expect goods to be available when they want and from the most convenient location.
"The importance of existing and new retail centres remains fundamental to the future of retail in NSW, but these changes will deliver more flexibility.
"Retail is a dynamic and highly competitive sector, employing about 420,000 people a year. Annual turnover is estimated at $95.6 billion. In 2017, retail was the second largest employing industry in NSW, and the third largest employer in regional areas," Ms Frame said.
"This work has been influenced by the objectives of district plans in Greater Sydney and the nine regional plans that cover the remainder of NSW."
In line with the REAC's findings, the Department is proposing amendments to the definitions of artisan premises, garden centres, local distribution premises, neighbourhood supermarkets, and bulky goods premises.
"Amending these definitions brings NSW in line with other jurisdictions by ensuring retail land uses are aligned with the contemporary retail environment," Ms Frame said.
The proposed amendments are on exhibition until 18 May 2018. More information is available from the Department of Planning and Environment website at <http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Retail-planning/Retail/Amendments-to-Retail-Land-Use-Definitions>.