NSW planning system has ‘long way to go’

Housing affordability, a planning system in need of reform and connecting new infrastructure with development are among the “toughest challenges for a growing Sydney”, a residential forum has said.

On Friday, a Property Council residential forum heard from a range of speakers about the future of growth in the NSW capital.

Jane Fitzgerald, Property Council NSW executive director, said the forum was “timely” in light of the current debates about the causes of, and solutions for, difficult challenges such as housing affordability, and “making sure tomorrow’s Sydney is as liveable as possible”.

This comes after SQM Research revealed vacancies had dropped in all capital cities, pushing up the price of rent in most locations, particularly in Sydney, where vacancy rates dropped to below 2 per cent.

“Attempting to move through the NSW planning system is like running an obstacle course”, she said. “We need to meet the growing pains head on and prioritise fixing what is broken.”

She added: “[T]he NSW planning system has a long way to go to be on par with the systems other states have.”

Also speaking at the residential forum was Greater Sydney Commission CEO Sarah Hill, who said that contingency plans would be put in place in the new district plans to cope with growth and increases in population.

She commented: “From LEPs through to district plans, we need to ensure growth can occur to meet the demands of a growing population.”

Ms Hill said that the inclusion of the contingency plans in the new district plans to cope with the increase in population, will be 20-year plans “with 5-, 10- and 15-year targets so that these changes will be accounted for”.

According to Ms Fitzgerald, it is important that the forthcoming plans help “knit the system together” in order to make it easier for the team to meet the growing demands of Sydney.

[Related: Vacancy rates drop, pushing rents up]

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Tamikah Bretzke

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