Public Statement Feb 5, 2024
The NSW Government is proposing to fast-track development for higher-density residential precincts to, ostensibly, increase the supply of housing across 31 suburbs in NSW. These include Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Gordon, Hornsby, and (most likely) St Ives. Public submissions are required by February 23 and regulatory changes would come into force in April. It is unclear if legislation will be required.
I support the various communities across the Ku-ring-gai, Hornsby and Willoughby local government areas that have expressed concerns about what is proposed. From what’s offered in the consultation’s terms of reference, the plan will not help us transition to net zero suburbs and cities or preserve areas of high biodiversity, conservation, and heritage value.
My opposition to the NSW Government’s proposals is not head-in-the-sand. Like most of us, I recognise that NSW, Sydney, and the North Shore face a housing crisis. There is a shortage of affordable housing, and this harms individuals and families across generations, as well as local businesses and those in the provision of essential services such as education and health. It is a problem resulting from decades of policy failures at all levels of government and reduces the options for our children and grandchildren.
My problem with this plan is the process being pursued by the NSW Government. It is ill-thought-out, fast-tracked, and reckless. Without appropriate engagement with relevant stakeholders, the NSW Government is unlikely to achieve even its claimed aims.
Any policy - but especially policy in a complex multi-government area such as housing - must be done:
- EFFECTIVELY: to deliver affordable, temporary, and permanent shelter to those most in need – resident front line workers, students, single parent families and aging women – in a manner that ensures adequacy of infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, public transport and parking spaces.
- SENSITIVELY: protecting areas of high biodiversity, conservation and heritage value
- SAFELY: in the context of a changing climate and Australia’s national commitment to net zero no later than 2050.
- TRANSPARENTLY: with impacted communities and engagement of experts and specialists that are not solely driven by profiting from real estate.
I encourage those who have concerns about these proposals to familiarise yourself with them through the NSW Department of Planning, and at the sites of Ku-ring-gai Council and the news sections of the Hornsby and Willoughby Councils. Submissions to the NSW Government, due by February 23rd can be made here.
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