NSW Common Planning Assumptions are the agreed information assets (data sets, parametres and assumptions, models and analytical tools) used by NSW Government and external stakeholders, to prepare proposals, business plans and strategies that rely on projections.

They provide a consistent evidence base for NSW Government agencies to use in planning for key services and infrastructure in the state, from schools and hospitals to roads and transport.

The use of common planning assumptions supports the Premier’s Priority for world class public service by giving NSW Government agencies easier access to the latest datasets and assumptions for planning well-targeted services and infrastructure in NSW.

Assumptions and datasets

NSW Government agencies develop and update information assets that are used as common planning assumptions. The common planning assumptions detailed below were approved by CPAG in April 2021.

Common planning assumption datasets, reports and other tools, are provided below, broken into the following categories:


Fiscal and economic

Assumptions, datasets and tools on economic growth, employment, labour productivity and productivity changes

Population and housing

Demographic and regional planning information and population projections for NSW

Climate and natural resources

Climate change projections and snapshots, and other sources on NSW natural resources

Regional and district land use assumptions and housing targets

Land use assumptions and housing targets for district and regional plans for Greater Sydney, including spatial directions, growth and housing targets

Transport, freight, workforce and employment

Transport capacity, freight demand forecasts and workforce and employment projections

New infrastructure in planning or development phase

Interactive maps and planning information relating to new infrastructure projects

The Common Planning Assumptions are used in the development of new NSW government policies, strategies and business cases. They have been used to prepare key Government plans, including:

The planning horizon for these data sets and projections is typically between 20 years (business cases for investment above $10 million) and 40 years (proposals for major investments and strategies).

Fiscal and economic data


Population and housing projection

  • Population projections – Projections of population, mortality, migration, fertility and household formation


Climate and natural resources

  • Climate change snapshots – Summary of climate change projections for NSW & ACT and it outlines some key characteristics of the region
  • NSW and ACT Regional Climate Model (NARCliM) data – Registered users of the Climate Data Portal are able to view different datasets and data for particular locations and date ranges:
  • NARCliM Climatological Atlas – A technical report with NARCliM (New South Wales / Australian Capital Territory Regional Climate Modelling) project outputs 
  • Technical report on extreme rainfall – Presents extreme precipitation indices, their biases, and projected future changes for the state of New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
  • Heatwaves snapshot – Illustrates the projected changes in mean number of heatwave days each year and number of days above 40°C across NSW by 2070
  • Heatwaves Technical Report – Shows heatwaves affecting NSW and the ACT: recent trends, future projections and associated impacts on human health
  • Sea level rise assumptions – For management of current infrastructure, planning new infrastructure and future land use planning.


Regional and district land use assumptions and housing targets


Transport, freight, workforce and employment projections

  • Workspace Ratios – Guidance on workspace ratios to assist in determining how many potential jobs could result from new employment related development


New infrastructure in planning or development phase

  • Projects and initiatives map – Interactive all new funded and committed transport infrastructure projects train, bus, light rail, freight, interchanges, parking, roads and maritime and walking/cycling paths across NSW
  • NSW School infrastructure projects map – Interactive map of all school infrastructure projects in NSW completed since 2011, in progress and recently announced (shown by project type and status)
  • Health infrastructure projects – Interactive map showing Health Infrastructure projects (e.g. hospitals) in all parts of the State by planning, delivery and completion stages

Last updated: 03/11/2023