20th September, 2023.
Private Member's Statement - Up? Out? Why not together?
We have heard from the Government on their plans for the roll out of development in the State. The argument of Up or Out, or both is a simplistic one and one that is fine for upcoming developments but does little for outer regions and for greenfield developments.
Councils are being asked to do their share, but what is their share?
Development in Wollondilly and in what is proposed in Southern Highlands is not on the private or small owners, it is largely in huge development areas. That was previously from areas and more recently land banked.
These developments change the face of our electorate. Sure, we have been rural which is why people move to the area but the people that have lived there now for decades understand this area and the limited services we have are at capacity with the existing populations that we have.
Meanwhile there is a housing crisis, a crisis not only of stock but one of the price of homes for our young people. Generations ago it was possible to have a home on a single income, a dream long gone for our children.
Now we have large development areas and the developers are bulldozing everything, trees and even hills are flattened but what are we being left with?
We are being left with houses and roads with pocket parks at best. We are told the population is to come for the infrastructure they need, but they are moving in today.
We have new developments approved right across the electorate now even on top of partially completed ones. The infrastructure is at capacity or missing.
I challenge anyone to see what a 30 minute travel time means to the people of the new areas to find employment or deliver a child to a high school.
People are there now, people are being sold a dream of an affordable house with schools, health and facilities, but we can't even assure them adequate water. Try to have a shower now at Appin where the water is now dropping to a trickle. In Wilton you have waste water being trucked out as there is no Sewer Treatment Plant. All this in the middle of the catchment zone.
Well we are willing to do our share but only if planning is done differently and not create terrible community outcomes. While the Government talks about fast planning approvals, to do so we need the Ministers and the departments which are in silos to open their doors and to discuss things. We need to Plan.
We need the Ministers to sit together with departments and see where people are to live and what infrastructure is needed. We need lines on maps for things like schools, transport, health and facilities. As well as providing for the community that we are not able to accommodate for currently.
While this demonstrates the issues with large greenfield developments, with Developers that come in. What about the people who live on 5, 10, 20 even 100 acres?
We talk about infill in the city, but what about those rural people who have been asking for just one or two extra houses? Maybe to have their children or elderly parents or even to sell off to another family wanting to share our beautiful area.
There are already roads, many need upgrading, we have power, water already and we have some jobs and this would benefit the existing villages. This would make some of the primary producers more sustainable. It will have less effect on the fauna that is destroyed by huge developments where all trees are removed to a desert.
Why not some infill at the peri urban level?
While I appreciate that this government has recognised the need for investment in developing Western Sydney, and committed to a delivery date of 2026 for the Western Sydney International Airport.
There remains an unanswered question about the restrictions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Precincts Western Parkland City) 2021.
Now that we have the new airport flight paths released and the budget allocations for transport and infrastructure in place, I see no need for stopping Wollondilly residents from building secondary dwellings on their properties. In-fill housing and secondary dwellings represent an untapped source of housing people in this time of great need, and someone living in a house on a 10 acre property should not be restricted from building a granny flat because of the current SEPP.
The SEPP restrictions regarding secondary dwelling or small subdivisions by mums and dads need to be lifted, giving the same opportunities for individual residents as those granted for the big developers who are profiting from the restrictions placed unfairly on private land holders
So, where to from here? Why not a round table to do planning better? I look forward to working with the Government to fix this mess and think outside of the system.