Both sides say they support increased greenfield land development but who has the more convincing plan?

13 February 2011

The public debate of Labor and Liberal NSW urban development policies is in danger of being over-simplified, the Urban Taskforce said today.


The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the debate cant be characterised about one side of politics being ˜for greenfield development, and the other ˜against it.


The reality is, both the major parties have promised to significantly boost greenfield urban development, Mr Gadiel said.


Just two months ago, the Keneally Government released a new Metropolitan Strategy.


The strategy requires 23,000 new residential lots to be developed over four years in Western Sydney.


If the Keneally Governments target is to be achieved, greenfield lot production will need to be more than doubled.


The OFarrell Opposition has announced a measure increased development by Landcom that might assist in meeting this goal, although many other initiatives would also be required.


Mr Gadiel said that, in truth, both sides of politics had recognised that the current level of greenfield lot production was unacceptably low.


The issue between the parties is not whether there should be more greenfield land development, Mr Gadiel said.


The real question is which side of politics has the more convincing plan for making it happen.


Mr Gadiel said that no Australian capital city approves less new homes per head of population than Sydney.


The citys per capita housing supply has halved since 2003, he said.


High development levies, excessive red tape, lack of infrastructure investment and local politics have crippled Sydneys housing supply.


In the last four years, median rents for three bedroom houses in outer suburban Sydney have soared by 44 per cent thats an average annual increase of 9.5 per cent.


Mr Gadiel said there was also an undersupply of apartments in inner suburban areas.


In the last four years, rents for two bedroom apartments in the inner suburbs have swollen by 41 per cent an average of 9 per cent a year.


Extra greenfield development cant come at the expense of new apartment development – our city desperately needs much more of both.


We need to see lower, more transparent, development levies, greater investment in urban infrastructure and a more flexible planning system that responds to the requirements of the whole community, not just those who are trying to block new housing.


Both political parties need to release policies to demonstrate their credentials in this area.


This will allow the community to form their own judgment on who is best placed to solve Sydneys housing shortfall.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


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