Greenfield housing at Wilton must proceed to make up for urban infill housing being put on hold

The news that Wollondilly Council has taken legal action to stop the rezoning of Wilton South East Precinct is a major setback for Sydney housing supply says the Urban Taskforce.

“In a pre-election environment we are seeing the NSW Government putting planning for urban infill on hold and now it seems that greenfield housing is also being put on hold.” Says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson “Wollondilly Council, led by a mayor who media reports say may stand as a candidate in the state election next March, is taking the NSW Government to court to try and stop the rezoning of the Wilton South East Precinct. The NSW election is becoming a race to the bottom as politicians champion anti-development and anti-housing rhetoric to appease communities worried about change. The big losers will be young families and young couples looking for a new home.”

“Glenn Stevens, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank in a report to the state government in 2017 on housing affordability raised significant concerns that councils only represented existing residents and did not seem to be interested in future residents.  Wollondilly Council certainly seems to be not helping future residents in an area that the NSW government has nominated for new housing for over six years. On the basis of the government’s plans the development industry has spent millions of dollars on planning only to find that the local council nine months before a state election suddenly opposes new development.”

“The reason the council is calling for the rezoning of land in the Wilton South East Precinct to be stopped seems to be based on the need for a koala protection corridor but the Department of Planning has already identified a significant area of land as a koala corridor. Wollondilly Council is also concerned about the provision of infrastructure for the new development but large projects need to begin the construction of new homes in parallel with infrastructure delivery.”

“The Urban Taskforce is very concerned that the coming state election in March 2019 is creating an emotional anti-development attitude that is being expressed by state and local politicians. An example is the reaction to the launch of a state government town house code that supported two storey town houses and terrace houses only where councils allowed this building type. Amazingly 50 councils across the state sought and received a delay for a year on the codes implementation. Back-downs have also occurred on development along the Sydenham to Bankstown line and in the council area of Ryde. Now the same fear of new housing is spreading into greenfield areas.”

“If much of Sydney’s housing is put on hold for the next year this will lead to a big reduction in new homes for young families and young couples over future years. The jobs that come with the construction of new housing will also be reduced significantly.  Politicians seem to believe they are acting in the public interest when they reverse policies that encouraged the private sector to invest in areas nominated by government for new housing. The reality is that the massive cost born by the private sector by these reversals and delays will only be passed on to the young families purchasing the new homes.”

“The Urban Taskforce believes that politicians have a responsibility to ensure that future generations have affordable homes but this does require a form of leadership that rises above short term scare-mongering about change and about new development.”

  • Chris Johnson can be interviewed on 041225 8283

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