Planning Monthly Update 

Contributions Reform

Given the importance of contributions reform we’ve provide previous a series of updates on 30 November, 4 December, and 12 & 25 March. We now expect there to be delays to the implementation of the new system (slated for July 2022) on hearing news that the Legislative Council Planning and Environment Committee has requested draft regulations be developed and other reviews conducted before the Bill proceeds. These reforms are designed to create a more transparent and certain contributions system however the pathway to achieve this now appears to be somewhat less clear.

Draft Housing SEPP

A Proposed Housing SEPP is now on exhibition (from 31 July to 29 August 2021) and is expected to be finalised in October 2021. It expands on the previous Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) exhibited from 29 July to 9 September 2020. The Draft SEPP is a review of the Seniors and Affordable Housing SEPPs and will consolidate these SEPPs and the Caravan Parks and Manufactured Home SEPPs. Future amendments to the existing provisions within the Caravan Parks and Manufactured Home SEPPs are foreshadowed but not yet on exhibition. The most significant changes are the introduction of a new co-living housing typology, the restriction of boarding houses to community housing providers and major changes to where seniors housing can be delivered in the future. Our view is that simplifying the planning system is more than just reducing the number of SEPPs – and consolidating a disparate group of typologies under the residential banner is set to be a source of confusion. We’d love to her your views on the commercial feasibility of the changes in particular.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021

The delayed review of the Regulations is now on exhibition until 22 September 2021. The key changes relevant to our clients include changes to application lodgement requirements and fees (including provision for fees to increase aligned to CPI), planning certificates as well as stop the clock and referral provisions. The categories of designated development are being modified and changes are also proposed to environmental impact assessment under Part 5 of the Act. The Regulation will be renumbered and the proposed changes are expected to commence on 1 March 2022.

To discuss any of the above in greater detail please contact our Manager Planning & Development Strategy, Nathan Croft on 0419 845 089 or at

Construction Urban Monthly Update 

Covid Construction Rules and Restrictions

The restart of the construction industry has been quite a challenge particularly with regards to site worker limits and the ability for contractors to operate at full capacity.  Recent changes under the Public Health Order have mandated that those within the current restricted LGAs and suburbs to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine (Pfizer or Astra Zeneca) prior to returning to construction works (with regular testing if the first dose was taken within 21 days of attending site). Although this has motivated a number of workers to get vaccinated, there are still construction workers who disagree with mandatory vaccinations therefore affecting the industry’s capacity to be fully functional.

Businesses Incentivises COVID-19 Vaccination

For the civil industry, the 50% maximum daily workforce requirement can be interpreted in many different ways. Civil projects comes in all shapes and sizes and this one blanket rule across the industry is certainly creating some interesting solutions.

To discuss any of the above in greater detail please contact our Construction Manager (Urban), Chris Suarez on 0447 493 345 or at

Infrastructure & Industrial Delivery Monthly Update 

Sydney Airport Portfolio

With the airline industry taking a hit due to COVID, Qantas is selling approximately 14 hectares of industrial and commercially zoned land in Mascot next to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport presenting a great opportunity to develop multi-level industrial and logistics estates as well as for commercial use such as hotels.

Qantas plan to lease back its 21,795sqm distribution centre for an initial 10 year term with options to extend, along with 82,155sqm of industrial land on a 3 year leaseback. There will be 16,490sqm of B5 business zoned land available for immediate development.

The industrial market in Australia has experienced a record breaking $12 billion in transactions in the past year alone as investors look to diversify into the expanding asset class during the pandemic.

To discuss any of the above in greater detail please contact our Delivery Manager – Infrastructure and Industrial, Mina Fahmy on 0409 088 545 or at

Infrastructure & Industrial Design Monthly Update 

You would have recently seen the announcement of the proposal for a $2.1 million National Space Industry Hub here in Sydney. What some may not know is that Sydney has more than a third of Australian Space startup companies.

For those of you that have ever quizzed our Director Philip Byrum on the origins of the name Orion Consulting, you would know that he is a bit of a space nerd at heart and that Orion comes from this love as well as his ambition to reach for the stars. And as cheesy as that sounds you may also recall that last month we announced a restructure allowing us to provide distinct services across both the Urban and the Infrastructure & Industrial (I&I) space (no pun intended).

Whilst we have always worked in this space to a lesser extent than our more known Urban space, we decided that the time was right, given the recent growth off the back of the acquisition of KF Williams & Associates in December 2020. The acquisition was to increase our offerings to the market, which now include Surveying and Water Service Coordination. This new split is to better service the market by having dedicated teams of specialists to service our current and future clients distinct and individual needs. We recognise that whilst there are similarities with Urban and I&I, there are also needs that make them different.

Therefore we at the Infrastructure & Industrial design team are ready to take on the challenges of your site and assist with the successful delivery through our innovation and smarts. For further information feel free to contact Mark Marsic our Principal Designer for Infrastructure and Industrial.

To discuss any of the above in greater detail please contact our Principal Designer – Infrastructure and Industrial, Mark Marsic on 0436 334 553 or at

Project Management Monthly Update

Regional Housing Supply Meetings Take Place

The Regional Housing Taskforce has completed virtual roundtable sessions across regional NSW, with the purpose being to obtain community centric information to facilitate sustainable housing. As more and more people seek regional opportunities as a result of recent shifts in lifestyle, these online sessions have provided valuable insight on barriers and community relevant information to inform increased housing in these areas.

Observations and insights are currently being collated by the Taskforce to put forward to The Minister of Planning and Public Spaces for consideration. The independent report is expected to be issued in October 2021 and will seek to expedite supply, address affordability and enable uptake of housing in Regional NSW.

For full details on progress to date, please refer to the following link:

New Housing SEPP to Drive More Diverse Housing Supply
A new Housing SEPP is being developed by the state to introduce more diverse housing options, including making it mandatory that boarding houses are affordable and introducing co-living as a new option. The new SEPP aims to provide new and affordable housing options to address Sydney’s population growth, moving away from the traditional stand-alone housing arrangements the general population are familiar with. This policy will be the first principle led, consolidated Housing SEPP and will have an impact on housing and development choices in existing, low residential areas.

The current revised draft contains the following updated provisions:

  • Boarding Houses: Rooms to be rented out at an affordable rate and to be managed by a registered community housing provider;
  • Co-Living Housing: Designed for community living with private spaces connected to share facilities, also inclusive of student housing and;
  • Seniors Living: Setting zones where seniors housing is permissible to encourage development;

The Housing SEPP is currently on exhibition and intended to be finalized in October 2021.

For more information on the SEPP and what it may mean for your site, please refer to the following link:

To discuss any of the above in greater detail please contact our Manager – Projects, Joshua Pineda on 0477 444 702 or at

Survey Monthly Update 

The NSW Government Spatial Portal is currently having an update to their Historical Imagery Viewer – with additional mosaics being added.  Since the launch of the Historical Imagery Viewer last year, NSW Government have been working on enhancements and the addition of further mosaics to the service. In the last two months, an additional 68 mosaics were uploaded, so there are now 250 mosaics available that span from 1930 through to 2005 with the latest additions covering Lake Macquarie, Penrith and Wollongong.

Initially, Spatial Services’ Historical Aerial Photography Enhancement project (HAPE) delivered historical aerial mosaics over the Greater Sydney Area. The final product is a clipped and quality-assured mosaic, the size of a 1:25,00 map partition.

The next phase of the project encompasses Newcastle and Kiama areas. It will include the first aerial imagery capture over the Newcastle area completed in 1944, commissioned by Roads and Maritime Services (known as the Department of Main Roads at the time). We are also working on rare 1950’s post World War II imagery over portions of Sydney’s main railway infrastructure which were captured at incredibly high resolutions for that time.

To access the Historical Imagery Viewer please visit:

To discuss any of the above in greater detail please contact our Surveying Manager, Kevin Pritchard on 0438 428 904 or at