NSW planning processes and development applications will be fast-tracked in a bid to support the construction sector and maintain jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assessments of state significant developments, rezoning and development applications will be accelerated under the changes announced by Planning Minister Rob Stokes on Friday.
More decisions will be made by the minister if required.
It's the latest of several planning changes made during the pandemic, with construction sites now able to operate on weekends and public holidays, supermarkets and pharmacies able to operate 24/7, and rules relaxed for food trucks.
Mr Stokes on Friday said the construction and development sectors were vital to keeping people employed and supporting economic recovery.
"We have incredible opportunity to help keep our state's economy moving and keeping people in jobs and also keeping businesses operating," he told a Commission for Sydney event.
The minister said the focus was on projects "that can create jobs, that breathe new life into the retail and commercial sectors, to help them rejuvenate when we come out the other side of this".
Developments can be deemed of state significance due to their size, economic value or potential impact.
They can include schools, hospitals, correctional centres, mining and extraction operations, waste management and energy generating facilities.
Under the planning changes announced on Friday, the state government will also support councils and planning panels to fast-track local and regionally-significant development applications.
The government says extra acting commissioners will help clear a backlog of cases in the NSW Land and Environment Court, while $70 million will be invested in new infrastructure in northwest Sydney including roads, drainage and parks.
This is expected to pave the way for the construction of thousands of new homes.
Mr Stokes said the so-called planning system acceleration program would create opportunities for more than 30,000 construction jobs in the next six months.
He made no guarantees over what would be approved or not, adding: "This is not about approving everything, this is about making sure that everything comes to a decision point as quickly as possible".
Asked if there was a risk construction would be shut down under future restrictions to tackle COVID-19, the minister said there were no plans for further shutdowns that would affect the industry.
"The advice I received to date is that the restrictions that we have in place are doing what they are designed to achieve," Mr Stokes said.
Australian Associated Press