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Friday, 13 April 2018

The NSW Government is set to secure the competitive future of the NSW retail sector, the state’s second largest employer, with a new discussion paper seeking public and industry feedback.

In launching the paper, Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the retail sector was integral to the NSW community.

“Retail is vital to the NSW economy, employing about 420,000 people each year and adding $95.6 billion to the state’s economy,” Minister Roberts said.

“Last year retail was the second largest employer in NSW, and the third largest in regional NSW, so it is imperative to get this right for all communities across the state.

“But the industry is rapidly changing, so it’s vital we adapt our legislation to protect the sector and the thousands employed in it.”

The discussion paper identifies ways that customer trends are shaping retail today and proposes directions for retail planning into the future.

Some of the proposals considered in the discussion paper include:

  • Developing a new planning policy which will shape and support the future of retail to make it more flexible and competitive
  • Identifying what the trends, changes and outcomes for retailers and customers are, and consider them much earlier in the planning process
  • Developing a state-wide retail plan to offer retailers surety, customers a greater range of choice and councils a consistent plan for every part of NSW
  • Offering clearer guidance to industry and councils on where retail should go, such as close to new development and in regional NSW

The Paper accompanies proposed strategic amendments to give retail land use definitions as detailed in the Paper Proposed amendments to the Standard Instrument LEP – Better planning for the NSW Retail Sector, which was recently released for public exhibition.

“The pressures on retail businesses are immense. Customers are demanding more. They can now shop online at any time of day, almost anywhere and either pick up their goods or have them delivered, sometimes within hours of purchase,” Minister Roberts said.

“Amazon, eBay and Alibaba have changed the role of the retail bricks and mortar forever. Currently, online retailing equates to about eight per cent of total retail sales across Australia. This share is forecast to double by 2025. The bricks and mortar retail network needs flexibility to compete with the online retail sector.”

The Paper follows recommendations made in late 2017 by the Retail Expert Advisory Committee – a committee made up of industry experts tasked with finding what improvements can be made in planning for the sector.

The Department is keen to hear community and industry feedback on the initiatives in the Discussion Paper in order to ensure that the NSW planning system responds to the changing retail landscape.

The discussion paper is on exhibition until 18 May 2018. To view the discussion paper or make a submission, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: John Macgowan 0409 403 773