More than $1.8 billion will be injected into the NSW economy through the fast-tracked assessment of construction projects in western Sydney.

The NSW government on Thursday said six projects within western Sydney were among the first tranche of developments to undergo the fast-track assessment process in a bid to re-ignite economic activity.

The projects combined will inject $1.81 billion into the NSW economy and will create more than 16,000 jobs.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said while authorities are still dealing with the health threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the government is also focused on boosting jobs and re-opening the economy.

“More than 220,000 jobs lost in April is beyond our wildest expectations in terms of what could have happened and we are certainly in the phase of doing everything we can to open the economy, to get people working,” she told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

Among the fast-tracked projects is a new recycling facility in Penrith and an upgrade to a brick production facility in Horsley Park – both of which have been granted planning approval.

The projects combined will inject $27.8 million into the economy and create more than 130 jobs.

“Even during our darkest days of the pandemic, the jackhammers have still been going, projects have still been continuing … and we intend to maintain and accelerate that where we can,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said allowing projects to be assessed more quickly helps keep people in jobs and the NSW economy moving during the pandemic.

“We know there have been difficulties experienced in employment, particularly in construction, and that’s why the planning system has such an important role to play in boosting confidence and providing opportunities for investment and new jobs,” he said alongside the premier.

To be considered for a fast-tracked assessment, a development application or rezoning must already be in the system, deliver public benefits, create jobs and be able to start construction within six months.

The planning changes are among several the NSW government has announced during the pandemic.

Others include allowing construction sites to operate on weekends and public holidays, supermarkets and pharmacies to operate 24/7 and relaxed rules for food trucks.