Planning Minister: At The End Of The Day We Have Capacity To Rezone Without Them

30/01/2012 11:46 pm


Reports serviced yesterday on the NSW Governments so-called plan to “bypass” councils and rezone sites nominated by developers for thousands of new lots to provide the housing that Sydney is desperate for. Blockbrief has the  all the details.

Last November the government invited developers with land over 100 hectares to submit expressions of interest to have their land considered for housing development. A committee has been established by the Premier’s Department, to assess 43 proposals from land owners. The Department of Planning & Infrastructure lists that, “the purpose of the Review is to identify sites in appropriate locations that will increase dwelling production in the short term at no additional cost to government.”

As part of the review process the committee will consider the following factors:

  • How quickly sites can deliver new homes
  • The infrastructure needed to support the new housing
  • Accessibility to employment and services
  • The biodiversity value of the land
  • Alternative land uses

See here [  Objectives and matters for consideration ] for a detailed list of objectives and matters for consideration.

The Department lists over 43 of land owner nominated sites, equating to 12,000 hectares of land, from Auburn to Wyong. See the attached Schedule of Landowner Nominated sites.

The sites are situated outside of the growth centres which were identified by the former labor government as the major housing supply sources for the next 20 years. A strategy which the Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard, has branded a failure.

Mr. Hazzard told the SMH, that “the lines on the maps for the growth centres are supposed to encourage development in those areas, but it has not worked and the corollary has been it deterred development outside these lines”.

With new home construction at a 50-year low, Mr Hazzard said, it made sense to ask developers where they wanted to build, Mr. Hazzard, agreed the decision came with risks. “The challenge is to have an independent process at arm’s length from political influence,” he said.

The committee has been directed to identify sites suitable for urban development that could quickly produce housing “at no additional cost to government”.

Mr. Hazzard hopes that councils will co-operate, however the final decision will lie with the government. “The desirable course is to work with councils, but at the end of the day the state government and I, as Planning Minister, have the capacity to rezone without their concurrence,” he said.

Stepehn Albin, the chief executive of the Urban Development institute of Australia, welcomed the review as “a victory for common sense”.

“Rather than drafting wish-list and plans that are not necessarily achievable, they have gone straight to developers, and the land owners have responded in droves,” he told the SMH.

“This will be a stimulus, it will stimulate housing in the short term and fix up the massive supply problems in NSW for the last decade or so.”

It is understood that there has been no decision yet to the statutory pathway or process the review will follow. A whole government approach is being considered with key considerations being given to cost to government and delivery of infrastructure. The review is a strong indication of the government’s commitment to making Sydney housing affordable again.