New LGA targets more reasonable

21 July 2010

In December last year we revealed secret housing targets used by the NSW Department of Planning for rezoning land in Sydney in the first nine years of the Metropolitan Strategy to 2013.  The Urban Taskforce publicly released the data, obtained from the Department of Planning via a freedom of information request. There was significant media coverage.

When the NSW Government released the Metropolitan Strategy it published housing targets for 2031, but kept its short-term targets hidden from the public and the development industry. We revealed that these targets were woefully inadequate.

The 2005 Metropolitan Strategy promised 460,000 extra homes within the existing footprint of Sydney by 2031, but the secret targets only allowed for 103,000 extra homes by 2013. If these targets were to be met (and they won’t be) a third of the way into the strategy we would have seen only 22 per cent of the promised new homes.

In February 2010 the Department of Planning received an unpublished report from Dr Tom WIlson of the University of Queensland. This report carried population and dwelling projections for each of Sydney’s local government areas in 2011, 2016, 2021, 2026, 2031 and 2036.   These figures were used as a basis for the projections in the Metropolitan Transport Plan and the Sydney Towards 2036 (Metropolitan Strategy review) discussion paper.

We’re pleased to say that, at this stage, the Department does not seem to be repeating at least one error it made in the past. On this occasion, in the period 2006-2011 (which accounted for 16.7 per cent of the period of a renewed Metropolitan Strategy) 15.8 per cent of the planned additional housing is supposed to be provided. Similarly by 2016 (33.3 per cent of the period to be covered by the new strategy) they are aiming for 32.4 per cent of the required housing to be provided. However, the projected growth is not uniform across all local government areas.  More detail on the figures, on a local government area basis are here. We’re interested in any comments from members on the figures.

A note of caution: the figures were prepared for internal Department of Planning use and have not been published in any official government strategy. It is very possible that government policy decisions ultimately will not seek to fulfil these projections. (After all, that’s what happened when a similar set of internal projections were drawn up in 2006.)