Premier Mike Baird says releasing greenfields sites for new housing and funding infrastructure will ease property price pressures. Photo: Fiona-Lee QuimbyThe Baird government will tackle Sydney’s housing affordability crisis by shaking up metropolitan planning with an independent Greater Sydney Commission tasked with ensuring 664,000 new homes are built by 2031.
The NSW budget will contain funding to establish the London-style commission, a year after it was announced by Premier Mike Baird, The Sun-Herald has learnt. An international search will be held for its chief.
The high-powered commission is expected to include six local government representatives, the heads of planning, roads and transport agencies and three independent members. It will cut through arguments with individual councils over hot issues such as high-rise apartments and transport.
As the housing affordability debate rages, the Baird government has insisted that increasing housing supply and supporting new housing estates by funding infrastructure is the best way to put downward pressure on prices.
Mr Baird pledged during the election that his government would deliver 20,000 extra home sites in Sydney over the next four years by releasing government land for development.
This is double the 10,000 lots delivered in the government’s first term.
Documents obtained by The Sun-Herald show Urban Growth expects to meet the target through a mix of high-rise and greenfield housing estates.
About 2500 lots will be released in the inner city, including 1000 at Redfern, 1300 at Green Square, and 300 at South Eveleigh.
Nearly 40 per cent of the 20,000 target will be achieved from selling greenfield land in the south west, including Edmondson Park in the Liverpool Council area, Menangle Park, and the University of Western Sydney’s Campbelltown Campus.
Urban regeneration for high-rise in Sydney’s inner west and northern suburbs, at Wentworth Point, North Ryde Station and along the North West Rail Link will yield another 5000 lots. North Parramatta is slated for 800.
“The most effective action state and local governments can take to put downward pressure on house prices is to increase housing supply. We have increased housing supply to the highest levels in two decades – and, just as important, supplied the vital infrastructure needed to support new housing,” Mr Baird said last week.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia’s NSW chief executive Stephen Albin said releasing government land, and funding infrastructure for new housing such as roads, water, and sewage, had been important, but better coordination was needed.
“The next phase in Sydney will require continued investment in infrastructure, but also better ways to manage it. We really don’t manage development well. We’ve got no clear metropolitan development program, and no sub-regional plans have been released,” he said.
“We need to get the Greater Sydney Commission going.”
The commission will carve metropolitan Sydney into six sub-regions, and develop detailed plans for housing targets and urban renewal.
Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said the Greater Sydney Commission needed to be given strong powers relative to local councils, to allow for growth in the apartment market.
“It is the key to having a metropolitan wide approach to managing our future prosperity for Sydney. Sydney is at a tipping point, from a low rise suburban city to a global city,” he said.
He said the sticking point in housing has been high-rise, which councils are rejecting, but he said young people and baby boomers choose apartments for convenient lifestyles.
Mr Baird has previously said the commission would streamline the way infrastructure and urban planning is delivered, particularly for projects such as the WestConnex, which extends across multiple council areas.
Since then, multiple major rail, light rail and road projects have been announced that are expected to transform Sydney, and will impact on housing.
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