Media Release
New Cities Minister should set first megaregion plan
15 December, 2021

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Matt Levinson
  • Cities Minister and expanded Greater Cities Commission offer possibility for planning at the megaregion scale for the first time
  • Big opportunities for quality of life, economic development and a boost to Sydney’s global competitiveness
  • Needs to be backed by investment in transport to tie megaregion together, starting with a one-hour rail link from Sydney to Newcastle.

The Premier’s announcement of a new Cities Minister and an expanded Greater Sydney Commission was exactly the right move – the next move needs to start with expanding our planning focus to the megaregion.

“It’s time for Greater Sydney’s first megaregion plan,” said Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney.

“The last Greater Sydney region plan caught the public’s imagination, directed government’s attention to the west, and framed debates about growth in the years since.

“The next one gives us an opportunity to build on that success, and everything we’ve learned since, setting the entire Sydney megaregion up to take another big step forward.

“Sydney is not an island, it is part of a broader megaregion that includes Newcastle and Wollongong. This has been the missing scale of planning.

“Focusing a Cities Minister at this scale opens up big opportunities to think about where people live, work and play.

“This will give more people the chance to live in places like the Central Coast or Wollongong, where temperatures are lower in summer, while still having easy access to jobs.

“By putting growth and new housing developments around train and Metro stations, we can reduce traffic congestion and accommodate a significant proportion of Sydney’s population growth over the next 20 years.

“To make this idea really live up to its potential, it needs to be backed up by an investment in transport that will actually tie the megaregion together.

“We think the starting place is a fast, one-hour rail connection between Sydney and Newcastle, ultimately followed by rail upgrades to Wollongong and Canberra.

“This initiative needs an economic development focus to bring jobs to Western Sydney and Newcastle – it’s not simply a traditional town planning exercise.

Today, the Committee releases a policy paper putting forward 10 key ideas for the next Greater Sydney Region Plan:

  1. Plan at the scale of the megaregion
  2. Channel growth into town centres
  3. Set a goal for growth within walking distance of rail stations
  4. Provide stronger standards for greenfield development
  5. Address the problem of land supply
  6. Adopt a target for social and affordable housing
  7. Place climate change at the centre of land use and transport strategy
  8. Present a transport vision at a high level
  9. Further develop the Parkland City idea
  10. Do more to bring quality jobs to the west.

10 ideas for the next Greater Sydney Region Plan: