The swing towards ‘anti-development’ councillors in Saturday’s series of council elections is bad news for any increase in housing supply, says the Urban Taskforce.
“There is a clear swing against councillors who would support new housing development in a number of council areas where people want to live,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “The middle ring of suburbs is where many people looking for a more urban lifestyle and it is these suburbs that seem to be electing councillors who have policies against new housing development.”
“The Urban Taskforce believes that housing Sydney’s growing population is a State Government policy and it should not be undermined at the local level. Clearly councils that were to be amalgamated have voted in support of local-focused councillors, so the role of championing regional priorities should be through the Greater Sydney Commission and the State Government.”
“In anticipation of a local government swing to an anti-development position the Urban Taskforce has established a ‘Council Watch’ that will monitor policies and decision making related to housing supply at the local level.”
“The introduction of Independent Planning Panels by the NSW Government will give some separation from anti-development councillors but the reports will be written by council staff who will be influenced by council policies.”
“We believe that a new system of District Planning Offices, with staff pooled from the councils in a district will be needed to ensure there is a supportive environment for new housing projects. Already Sydney is seen as the slowest of Australia’s capital cities in the processing of planning applications and this is only making new housing more expensive.”
“The government has established a Housing Delivery unit and recently appointed a Housing Coordinator but these new resources must understand the frustration from an applicant’s position as well as untangling overlapping responsibilities from state government agencies and anti-development councils.”
“The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with the State Government to help increase the supply of new housing for Sydney’s growing population.”