In recent weeks we’ve seen a number of key documents released in New South Wales. These include the finalised versions of the Greater Sydney Commission’s Greater Sydney Region Plan, Transport for NSW’s Future Transport 2056 Strategy, and Infrastructure NSW’s State Infrastructure Strategy. The Committee for Sydney has been heavily involved in influencing each of these documents, with input provided from many of our members.
Some reflections on the Greater Sydney Region Plan and Future Transport 2056 Strategy
- The Committee is pleased to see that the 30-minute city remains at the heart of the GSC’s vision for Sydney and that access is defined as by public transport to both jobs and services. This is an important metric for rebalancing Sydney and driving improvements in effective job density, as explored in the Committee’s Geography of Time Report.
- The Committee also welcomes the GSC’s decision to adopt an inclusionary zoning target of 5-10 percent on new residential floor space in nominated precincts across Greater Sydney, as part of an Affordable Rental Housing Scheme. The Committee has been a long-time advocate for inclusionary zoning and is pleased to see this commitment included in the GSC’s final plan.
- A Growth Infrastructure Compact (GIC) will be piloted in the Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula (GPOP). GICs are a new mechanism for bringing government, business and the community together to match housing and jobs growth with timely and cost-effective delivery of infrastructure. If successful, GICs will be a game changing mechanism for ensuring necessary infrastructure keeps abreast of housing and jobs growth.
- The Committee remains concerned that the final GSC plan fails to address the job-to-housing imbalance identified by the Committee’s submission to the draft GSC Plan. The final GSC Plan still forecasts a widening gap between the Eastern City District and everywhere else when considering the ratio of ‘Jobs in Centres’ to ‘Dwellings by District’.
- The Committee is also concerned that neither the GSC Plan or TfNSW Strategy included a modal shift target for Greater Sydney and its three cities. Under the future Transport Strategy’s own forecasts, Sydney will continue to have a higher level of car dependency than cities like London and New York have today even after our population has grown to a comparable size.
- More promising is the inclusion of active transport strategies within both documents, with a specific focus on increasing walkable and cycling access to the Sydney’s strategic centres. The Committee will be releasing a key report on walkability in 2018.
- Also promising is the Future Transport Strategy’s consideration of faster rail services connecting Sydney to Wollongong and Newcastle. The Committee for Sydney will be shortly releasing a report calling for precisely this sort of investment, while much of the preliminary research which informed that report was also featured in our submission.
- The final Future Transport Strategy also fleshed out the NSW Government’s proposed Movement & Place Framework, which will prioritise public transport, pedestrians, cycle and freight access over cars in Sydney’s strategic and town centres. This shift was strongly supported in the Committee’s submission.
- Finally, the Committee is pleased to see that both documents have made strong progress in acknowledging the potential for smart city strategies to help with demand management and better customer outcomes across Sydney’s transport network. Notable is the plan to embed smart sensor technology into all of Sydney’s transport infrastructure, which was called for in our submission. The move towards a more open-data framework to drive better customer services outcomes was also a key focus of our #WeTheCity3 Report
Some reflections on INSW’s State Infrastructure Strategy
- The Committee was equally pleases to see Infrastructure NSW call for the development of a NSW Government Smart Cities Strategy, as was called for in the Committee’s #WeTheCity3 Report.
- The State Infrastructure Strategy also recommended that the NSW Government develop a ‘road map’ that outlines a pathway to an integrated, system-wide user pricing system across the Sydney metropolitan road and transport network. Road pricing has been key matter of interest for the Committee and was explored in our A Fork in the Road Report.
- The strategy recognised the completion of the unfinished Maldon-Dombarton rail link as a potential passenger link between the Illawarra region and the Western Parkland City. The Committee is currently undertaking research on improving connectivity between Newcastle-Gosford-Sydney-Wollongong and is supportive of this proposal being examined further.
- The Committee is fully supportive of Infrastructure NSW’s conclusion that the Beaches Link and F6 Extension motorway projects, which benefit the already well serviced Eastern Harbour City, be de-prioritised over other more critical projects that are integral to the delivery of the GSC’s 30-minute plan, such as the finalisation of Metro West.
- The Committee also supports the recommendation that the Department of Planning and Environment establish a housing and employment supply pipeline that a) includes a five-year housing and employment supply forecast with a 20-year qualitative outlook, and b) is published in the third quarter of each year to support Government asset management plans and Budget bids. The Committee strongly supports this recommendation to assist with planning for a more fairly-balanced spatial distribution of housing and jobs across Greater Sydney.
- In line with both the GSC Plan and TfNSW Strategy, INSW also recommended that the NSW Government and local councils develop a 10-year rolling program that priorities active transport at high volume around strategic locations. The Committee strongly supports this recommendation.