21st November, 2023.
Two out of every three workers in Wollondilly are associated with trades and the labouring and machinery work attached to trades. These tradies are being hit successively with what I have dubbed the "tradie tax" by successive governments and poor policy planning. The tradies of Wollondilly are forced to deal with many extra costs: the costs of travel, the costs of not being able to use our land due to developers down the road claiming the rights to it; the costs of missing this economic development; the costs of having no local infrastructure; the costs of having no schools for their high school students; the costs of driving 40 minutes each way for a hospital; the costs of having no police area command; the costs of empty promises to build ambulance stations; the costs of no public transport; and the costs of the destruction of the environment through the approval of mass developments.
Add to this the rising cost of living that we all have to deal with, the common delays and costs of developments that hurt small providers, plus requirements of old building standards that raise costs and provide little environmental benefits, such as current BASIX requirements. With an area home to one of our highest representations of tradies, this all amounts to a tradie tax. It is not right that today we can build a 20‑bedroom home on one block, but we cannot build two three-bedroom homes on the same block. It is not right that we cannot build small affordable homes, known as granny flats, on our land for our children and elderly parents. It is not right that our tradies have to travel up the M5 and M4 to work on the homes of people in Penrith, Parramatta and Penshurst, but they cannot do the same work in Wilton and Warragamba. It is not right that the major developers are able to build thousands of homes with no infrastructure, while our land is used to justify their environmental destruction.
Wollondilly has all the downsides of the new airport but none of the employment opportunities because the distance to travel for residents is unrealistic for a daily commute. The State Environmental Planning Policy (Precincts—Western Parkland City) 2021 has restrictions that defer development until the completion of information regarding the new airport. The area of Wollondilly Shire Council to the north, near the townships of Silverdale and Warragamba, has large blocks but the current rules prevent the building of additional dwellings on blocks that already have a primary residence. It is a law by stealth against granny flats. The flight paths are now released, and it is not viable to hold off any development within the area identified by the State environmental planning policy beyond the local vicinity for the estimated 30 years it will take to complete the full capacity. Further studies will not allow a workaround, and the information based on building requirements and planning could be put in place today to allow development.
Further restrictions such as the biodiversity offsets placed on individual landowners have also restricted land usage in favour of large developers. Landowners had these additional building rights on land to allow granny flats until 2021. These rights were removed overnight to favour the large developers that applied for the Wilton and Appin growth areas to be rezoned. The Government allowed the developers to lead the strategy, and the result was that biodiversity offsets were placed on private land outside the major developer lands. The threatened community supposedly on this land—plant community type 3616—covers more than half of Wollondilly. Much of the land marked for biobanking is dry sclerophyll forest that cannot be biobanked. Land that has been incorrectly identified as koala crossing is restricting landowners, while developer land has been cleared of any koala habitat.
The mapping of land is procedurally unfair and was done to appease major developers in the Wilton and Appin area, while small landowners had their own land identified to offset this development. Legally supported by the Government's own SEED mapping website and studies, the Minister needs to step in to reverse both the restrictions through the Wilton and Appin growth areas and the State Environmental Planning Policy (Precincts—Western Parkland City) 2021 and allow tradies to get onto work in our area.