December 15, 2014
Source: The Australian Financial Review
Author: Rebecca Thistleton
More development will be allowed around inner-Sydney suburbs along transport corridors as the NSW government embraces inner-suburban development to support the city’s population swelling to 6 million.
The Baird government’s planning strategy, released on Sunday, offers more investment certainty and the potential to improve housing affordability.
NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward said A Plan for Growing Sydney would allow for more housing choice in established areas, linking people to services and infrastructure. The state government will look at more options for developing government land to provide for more housing and to fund infrastructure.
The final plan watered down previous suggestions high-rise apartments would be encouraged around the inner-east, although allowing higher-density development was highlighted as a solution to Sydney’s swelling population.
The plan emphasises the need for jobs to be created closer to where people live.
“This is different to other plans – it is measurable, it is deliverable and there is unprecedented opportunity for the community to get involved,” Ms Goward said.
The population projection that underpins the strategy has blown out to an extra 300,000 people.
“With the hike in the projected population, it would have made sense to take a bigger-picture approach and capture the entire corridor between Newcastle and Wollongong,” said Urban Development Institute of Australia’s NSW chief executive, Stephen Albin.
Mr Albin said the plan came after two years of lobbying the state government to better manage growth and he welcomed the strategy’s push for more jobs and housing in Sydney’s west.
A new body, the Greater Sydney Commission, will implement the plan. Parliamentary reviews are proposed to keep implementation on track, which Committee for Sydney chief Tim Williams welcomed as past plans and strategies have failed to eventuate.
“A Sydney of 6 million people by 2031 will be an even better place, with more opportunities across Greater Sydney if we deliver the plan,” he said.
The new commission would need powers to bust through barriers and bureaucratic inertia to be effective, said Property Council of NSW’s executive director, Glenn Byres.
“It will need to impose clear deadlines for translating targets and policy aspirations through sub-regional and local planning controls and ensure they are being met.”
“The other challenge will be to capture the private investment needed to deliver the projects, jobs and housing required to keep pace with population growth.”
The Housing Industry Association said the plan would increase housing.
NSW executive director David Bare said building up sub-regional areas and priority precincts, as well as improving land release and investigating a growth centre at Macarthur South centre, would provide for more housing options to be offered to the market.