Developers lobby group says Liberals are pandering to 'not in my backyard types'

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Barangaroo Towers Visual

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by StreetCorner

The Urban Taskforce has just released this opinion piece, arguing that the 'planning system is going to get worse, before it gets better'. While most community groups have welcomed the O'Farrell government's changes to the Part 3A planning laws and to JRPP's, the development industry is not so happy, saying it will worsen Sydney's housing crisis and cost jobs.

Here's what the Urban Taskforce had to say on behalf of Australia's large developers today.

"Legislation introduced to Parliament last night goes too far in an effort to accommodate NIMBY groups, according to the Urban Taskforce. The Taskforce’s chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the abolition of Part 3A was expected, but separate changes to “joint regional planning panels” were not announced prior to the election. The NSW Government last night revealed that the panels’ role would be wound back, by stripping them of responsibility for private sector projects valued at less than $20 million. Currently all projects whose value exceeds $10 million are decided by joint regional planning panels. (This process has nothing to do with Part 3A projects, which covered residential, commercial and retail development worth more than $100 million.)

Joint regional planning panels consider reports prepared by council staff, but decide the fate of development applications based on their regional, rather than local, costs and benefits. The panels are currently composed of three independent members appointed by the NSW Government and two nominees of the local council covering the development site.

“Most projects dealt with by these panels will be handed back to local politicians to decide,” Mr Gadiel said.

“What’s more, the most important person on each panel - its chairperson – now will only be appointed if they’ve been approved by the Local Government and Shires Associations. “The panel’s majority will be local government nominees, rather than independents.”

Mr Gadiel said the changes to joint regional planning panels, together with the repeal of Part 3A would further damage the state’s supply of new housing, retail shops and new workplaces.

“It’s a win for the not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) brigade,” Mr Gadiel said.

Mr Gadiel said local councils are good at opposing development based on highly localised concerns, but aren’t equipped to consider the benefits larger development projects bring to a whole city or region.

“By placing local councils back in charge of regional projects, we can expect increased housing pressures,” he said.

“This means reduced housing choice, higher rents and greater overcrowding in the existing housing stock.

“In Sydney’s inner suburbs house prices average $1.3 million each, while apartments average $650,000.

“Wealthier house owners will be free to use their local council to block more affordable housing and deny middle income earners the chance to enjoy inner suburban living.

“Every home that can’t be built in the inner suburbs adds to Sydney’s congestion pressures - by forcing people to live further away from their work, friends and family.

“For example a $15 million 60 home apartment development would typically house people from across a region, not just the existing residents of a local government area.

“On the edge of urban areas, a $15 million subdivision for 270 home lots would help meet the need for a supply of houses with private backyards.

“This may not always satisfy local NIMBY groups, but new houses meet an important social need for the city as a whole.”

Mr Gadiel said that when new commercial or retail development is opposed by a local council, the urban community can end up suffering from increased congestion and reduced business competition.

“For example a new $16 million supermarket will meet the needs of residents across a large catchment extending well beyond the boundaries of most councils,” Mr Gadiel said.

“A single council who blocks such a development reduces the access of many people to competitively priced, low-cost groceries.” Mr Gadiel acknowledged that the new Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, had consulted extensively with the industry on the preparation of the bill.

“There are some elements in the bill that mitigate its worst effects - such as a new requirement for councils to approve or reject some development within 120 days.

“Nonetheless, NSW already has the nation’s most difficult planning system, and these changes will make it even worse.”

Mr Gadiel noted that no state or territory approves less homes per person than NSW.

“While we appreciate the government’s intention to reform the planning system in the medium term, these changes mean that it will get a whole lot worse before it gets better.”

The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australia’s most prominent property developers and equity financiers."

What do you think of the Urban Taskforce's view? Are Hazzard's changes to NSW's Planning laws an improvement or a set backwards?

Share your views with the community here..

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Tranh P posts

I hope the proposal for Barangaroo does not represent Western Sydney. We don't want anything to do with snobby Northern and Eastern suburbs people who get rich off our hard work. It is an unjustice that they are paid so much more.

Exenon posts

Synonyms; developers, Labor, corruption, Part 3A.

Ron Green posts

NIMBY indeed. This "word" is straight out of the Developers spin dictionary. Does anyone know a Developer who has built highrise next door to his/her home [in Bellview Hill or Turramurra or Mosman] blocking his/her view, taking his/her sun, impacting on his/her privacy?

Julia A posts

The Urban Taskforce has one agenda, to make money for developers. There is no long term planning being offered by this self serving group. Where are the schools,sporting fields, recreational areas, hospitals which will accompany the increased housing and population. Its high time the NSW government got smarter and made the developers contribute to the infrastrature. Mr Gadiel makes no sense when he says "every home that can't be built in the inner suburbs adds to Sydneys congestion" This bullying approach is the reason good long term planning doesn't exist.

Roy Carter posts

The Transfomation of Barangaroo is quite an easy task really.......not rocket science.......However the Calamity that is now a flow on effect of this decision to close the facilities of the " Greatest Sea Harbour in the World" to Container Freight manifesting in Sydney's South Western Corridore........It threatens the very Viability of Sydney as a place to establish a business.......Sydney needs a Second Airport....what made them think we did not need our FIRST PORT? How is all of this going to be unmuddled now?.... MORE AD Hoc Solutions and spin to justify more unsustainable developments?

Australia is a huge country why has everything got to be developed on the east coast why cant regional cities be revitalised to spread the congestion stop the overpopulation of one biggest city.Sydney is 4 and half million now and is tipped to reach 7 million why cant some of the infrastrucure be diverted to regional areas to stop the choking of our major city.The governments can help it by moving industry and offices to regional areas to stop Sydney frombeing suffocated.It is said to cost the australian economy 15 billion each year for congestion of our gridlocked rds but very little is done to relieve the situation.In Moorebank the thousands of diesel trucks and locomotives threaten the health of its residents as we are well aware of the health ramifications of diesel emmissions especially on the young and the old also it is known diesel can have a big impact on develop[ing brains.This is not about nimby but the survival of one of the fastest growing areas in the state surely residents deserve more respect and consideration John Anderson wattle grove.0409368603

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