In the world of planning approvals for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes there are a number of different ways to obtain Developing Consent. The two main ones that breweries would be interested in are:

  • Complying Development Certificate (CDC) which is a fast-track approval through private certification; &
  • Development Application (DA)which requires approval from local council

At the moment most breweries will find that they are in the situation where they have to engage local council for Developing Consent just the way that planning controls are currently set up at the moment. The reason why you will find most breweries have to head down that path is that the State Government legislation dictates which path you need to take and that dictation states that you have to go down the path of the dreaded DA.

There have been recent lobbying efforts with NSW State Gov on behalf of the Inner West Brewer’s association to make changes to that legislation and it seems to be getting some support from the NSW Government. If successful, that change in the legislation will mean more breweries will be able to use the Private Certification process mentioned above rather than the traditional Development Application path through Local Council. The benefits that we will see in this change for breweries, will be significant time and financial savings, as the smoothest and well thought out DA applications may take as long as 6mths, and some up to 18 months or even longer. Compare this to a CDC through the private certification process and you can see this time fast tracked within 21 days.

There are still the documentation requirements in terms of putting together plans of what you are proposing to do with the site, but the benefits with the private certification process, is that it is a building and construction approval all in one, and once you have the CDC you can get works under way. It also does not include neighbour notification, so your risk of objection is greatly diminished by surrounding neighbours having the opportunity to object what you are wanting to do. There is also no council involvement, they only get notified by the private certifier that you have been granted consent to have a brewery onsite and it simply goes on Local Council records.

It is fast tracked because there are a number of boxes that need to be ticked. If you tick all those boxes and you comply with the Complying Development provisions, then you are granted Development Consent. If you cannot tick all those boxes, then you will need to head down the DA process path with your Local Council. If these State Legislation changes were to be approved, you may find a 50% increase of breweries going through the planning process be eligible of going through the CDC private certification process, and the other 50% still having to go through the DA process if their plans are to be much bigger or require greater

modifications to the site that fall outside the framework of the CDC provisions.

The exact title of this NSW Planning Legislation amendment we speak of is called the ‘State Environmental and Planning Policy Exempt and Complying Developing Code of 2008’. This is the same code that allows for residential owners to build a granny flat, or dual occupancy on their land without having to go through council. It’s also the same code that allows a warehouse to operate from a factory building without having to go through council, but so long as you can meet a set of pre-qualified standards, and it’s only when you fall outside of those standards that you need to go through Local Council. Currently Breweries are struck out from the CDC process. Other types of light industries like a Mechanic Workshop or Panel Beater business can take advantage of these provisions, so long as they tick all the necessary boxes. But for breweries, currently these are no boxes for you to even tick, you are explicitly ruled out. When we refer to breweries under this legislation, they are defined under the Artisan, Food & Drink Industries, this also includes distillers, craft cheese producers etc.

What lobbying groups are trying to achieve is to allow for businesses that fall under the Artisan, Food & Drink Industries category to be included under this legislation which would allow them to be able to take advantage of the provisions of the CDC private certification process that other light industries can.

A brewery that is principally a production facility but has an ancillary tasting bar like a lot of the venues in Sydney’s Inner West, they would qualify as an Artisan, Food & Drink Industry, and if you tick all those boxes then theoretically those changes should mean those types of planning applications can be carried out as a CDC and not have to go through the timely and costly exercise of a DA.

This will save a brewery in time, which means financial savings in regard to lease holding costs, not having to obtain as many consultant reports and taking a lot the planning risk out of the equation because you are not subject to neighbour notification and potential objections that could eventuate. You are also not subject to the myriad of Local Council Officers that like to assess these things as soon as you submit an application to council, so the risk profile and costs for a Brewery owner is significantly reduced.

This amendment to the State Environmental and Planning Policy Exempt and Complying Developing Code of 2008 is still under review by the NSW Government, and it will be interesting to see which direction it takes. If it leans towards a favourable decision, we could be seeing a massive hurdle in the process of small craft breweries opening up be greatly reduced and quite possibly the biggest boom of craft breweries and distilleries ever in Australia.


Written & Transcribed by Chris Hayton

Majority of information in this article has been collated from my sit-down chat with Ben Tesoriero from CPS Planning in our Part 1 Episode of the Brewery Licensing & Government Compliance segment.



    • Unsure Troy, would be amazing if it does. I think there are other states that also have this fast track option for private certifier approval, but not sure if those State Governments are looking at it from a Brewery perspective.

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