NSW Budget sets the framework for future urban growth

The NSW Budget with its large commitment to funding urban public transport and infrastructure sets the framework for the states move towards a more urban society, says the Urban Taskforce.

“This is a good budget that sets in place a program of urban infrastructure projects that will support a more dense cosmopolitan lifestyle,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “The commitment to the long-term lease of a significant proportion of the electricity network by the NSW Government has given the confidence to embark on a series of game changing infrastructure projects. The new Sydney Metro, with its proposed station at Barangaroo, along with the $400 million for the Housing Acceleration Fund will provide the essential infrastructure to support our growing urban population.”

“The governments heading of ‘Rebuilding NSW’ summarises the significance of the major allocation of funds to transport and infrastructure. The budget includes $103 million for the Newcastle Light Rail, $164 million for infrastructure around the proposed future Badgerys Creek Airport and $400 million will be added to the Housing Acceleration Fund to provide infrastructure that enables new housing to be built. These projects will certainly help with housing supply but even more will be required to lift the supply of housing in Sydney to deliver the extra 10,000 homes each year that are not currently being built due to the over-regulated NSW planning system.”

“As Sydney inevitably becomes a denser city as the trend towards apartment living continues it will become more important to reduce congestion by providing improved infrastructure and transport. The budget focus on providing significant commitments to infrastructure will send a good message to those communities concerned about the increasing density of urban areas.”

“A number of announcements in the budget address ways to improve out of date NSW planning system that is hindering the supply of new housing. The allocation of $20.9 million over 4 years towards the Greater Sydney Commission is a good start but at only $5 million a year there is concern that staffing will be small leading to the Commission being more of a co-ordinating body than one with its own strength to deliver outcomes. Another announcement to improve the planning system is the allocation of almost $7 million to set up a ‘Priority Projects Branch’ in the Department of Planning to speed up the assessment of State Significant projects. The allocation of $19.9 million to e-Planning also contributes to providing a streamlined, effective planning system.”

“Newcastle’s urban core gets a boost with the allocation of $103 million for its light rail project as well as funding to help the University of Newcastle establish itself in the city centre.”

“Urban schools get a boost with funds allocated for new schools in the Lower North Shore, Parramatta, Bella Vista and Narellan.”

“The Urban Taskforce is supportive of this budget as it sets the framework for the state to move to a more urban structure. Sydney is already the most dense city in Australia and the boom in apartments is continuing this trend. The commitment to major infrastructure as part of the Rebuilding NSW package is repositioning the state’s urban areas to be able to accommodate our growing population.”

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