Posting info regarding any important matter shouldn’t involve fear mongering and the maps shared overnight are not from any government site regarding the proposed changes.
Poor information and scrappy mapping has led to this fear mongering. Obviously Local Government Elections lead to a silly season but I urge officials to act more maturely online.
The report and the maps published online are not what is intended for the original 6 cities plan. The land for the tracks south of Macarthur is owned by ARTC and the developments surrounding this regional rail line will not be in keeping for what is in Wollondilly.
The map above, taken from the The Six Cities Region: Discussion Paper, September 2022, p.25, shows the location of the town centre closest to Wollondilly being Macarthur Campbelltown. There are no proposed upgrades to the commuter railway service to Wollondilly. The growth areas shown in blue south west of Campbelltown-Macarthur are Appin and Wilton.
Submissions can be made at the Planning Portal until 23 February 2024 here:
In December 2023 the Department of Planning and Environment released a Draft policy document entitled “Explanation of Intended Effect: Changes to create low and mid rise housing” in response to the housing crisis. It is intended to encourage an increase in low and mid rise housing by changing the planning laws to allow these developments to go ahead without council approval.
While I support an increase in well designed and suitable housing options throughout NSW, I do not support this policy in its current state as this type of development is not appropriate for Wollondilly, and I will be advocating for changes that reflect the needs of Wollondilly.
Contrary to fear mongering that has taken place by sharing homemade maps and statements circulating on social media overnight, here are the facts:
Mis-information and social media
There is a lot of fear mongering going on, which can be avoided entirely by relying on the facts. I encourage anyone who has questions about this policy and how it might affect Wollondilly to reach out to my office, rather than rely on misinformation circulating on social media. With council elections coming up later this year it is even more important that everyone is aware of the fallacies that can easily be posted on social media like the maps created that were posted over the weekend, with no intention but to incite fear and be inflammatory. Posting information regarding important matters shouldn’t be fear mongering. The maps shared overnight are not from any government site regarding the proposed changes.
Wollondilly is not identified as a strategic centre as part of the Six Cities Regions major town centres nor do we have a functioning rail line recognised by the Six Cities Regions Maps
The Department of Planning and Environment’s policy is intended to increase housing in the Six Cities Region. The most south west of the major centres is Macarthur Campbelltown which is the end of the metropolitan railway line, and none are located within the Wollondilly Shire Council area. Low and high rise development makes sense along the metropolitan electrified train line up to and including Macarthur, as it has the infrastructure and facilities to support the higher density population. The areas in Wollondilly are not noted as town centres and do not have the same infrastructure capacities, and as such I will not support this draft.
Railway and public transport
The policy document itself describes the growth areas to be near established town centres that have good public transport. The electrified train line stops at Macarthur, where the changeover to the Southern Highlands line into Wollondilly is a clear delineation in service provision. The line to the south of Macarthur is owned by ARTC and is not recognised as a future high speed or passenger metro line. The train line servicing Wollondilly is woefully inadequate for the current population. I have made many representations to the Government describing the challenges faced by residents in Wollondilly due to the slow and infrequent public transport options. A dramatic increase in population would increase demand on a service that is not even sufficient for current populations, let alone able to support the needs of residents living in denser low and mid rise areas which necessitate the need for more efficient and frequent public transport.
The current demands on other infrastructure in Wollondilly is felt acutely by the majority of residents in this area. I have written to the Ministers regarding the need for another public high school in Wollondilly, more health services, better roads, water and sewerage and the Picton Bypass, and is awaiting confirmation on any action on these. Before the Government considers mid-and low rise housing in Wollondilly it must address the needs of the current population.
Wollondilly is characterised by its historic towns and villages, located in close proximity to Sydney. These heritage towns and buildings are an asset to Greater Sydney, and the preservation of nature of the villages is vital. Imagine, for example, the consequences if a series of seven storey high rises were installed along the main street of Picton - its impact would be devastating. An increase in housing can be done in a way that respects the character of the towns of Wollondilly, and this further represents why I will not be supporting the Draft policy. It lessens the say that Local Councils have over the type of developments allowable and doesn’t take into consideration the individual nature of the Local Government Areas.
Genuine solutions to the housing crisis
The Government speaks of infill housing as a solution to the housing crisis. In Wollondilly, this type of housing - granny flats and secondary dwellings - would easily be accommodated, however due to the restrictions of the Western Sydney Airport State Environmental Planning Policy residents are still not allowed to build granny flats on their properties. This could mean effective and time efficient methods of increasing housing stock, but until the Government responds to my repeated requests to lift the SEPP restriction this is a lost opportunity which is having an immediate and real life impact on the residents of Wollondilly.
To the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly,
As residents of Wollondilly we have provided more than our fair share for housing. The Department of Planning and Environment’s policy is intended to increase housing in the Six Cities Region.
Wollondilly has no electrified stations with the south of Macarthur Train Station and the line owned by a private provider. While low and high rise development makes sense along the metropolitan electrified train line up to and including Macarthur, as it has the infrastructure and facilities to support the higher density population.
We ask Parliament to recognise the most south west of the major centres is Macarthur Campbelltown which is the end of the metropolitan railway line, and none are located within the Wollondilly Shire Council area. We ask Parliament to recognise no town centres are marked in any maps for the 6 cities and Parliament recognises the need to alter the reports that have been publicised to rule out development in areas where there is no viable public transport options.