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Growth plan a win for housing supply
Released 16 February 2012

Homebuyers will be the big winners under a new growth plan, which is set to deliver homes in western Sydney to market faster, the development industry says.      

The Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW, has welcomed the Sydney Growth Centres Strategic Assessment Program which was signed off by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments. The program aims to support 30 years of sustainable growth in western Sydney.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and NSW Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard said the program would streamline delivery of new homes to meet growth, cut red tape for developers and provide certainty for communities.

The program will take an overall strategic approach to environmental protection in Sydney’s northwest and southwest growth centres, rather than requiring individual developers to take a project-by-project approach to environmental protection.

Mr Burke said the program would free up at least 2500 hectares of land for employment, facilitate delivery of more than 180,000 homes and drive more than $7.5 billion in infrastructure investment.

“We are making sure that we’re developing sustainable communities that accommodate Sydney’s growing population over the next 30 years, while providing certainty around how development can progress and ensure protection of our critically endangered environment like the Cumberland Plain
Woodland,” Mr Burke said.

A strategic assessment reduces red tape by considering federal and state environmental planning issues in a single assessment process and giving greater upfront clarity to developers, landholders, planners, industry, government and the community.

It means that once a program has been endorsed under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the types of development or activities allowed to take place have been approved, individual projects do not need any further approval under national environmental law if done in accordance with the approved program.

The Sydney Growth Centres Strategic Assessment incorporates a $530 million commitment by the NSW Government for the Growth Centres Conservation fund to be invested on the Cumberland Plain in western Sydney.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW Chief Executive Stephen Albin said that as well as saving on the costs of extra consultancy reports, developers would also have their land holding costs substantially reduced because they could bring homes to market much sooner.

Homebuyers would be the eventual winners because they would not have to bear those costs in the price of a new home, Mr Albin said.

“This is a major win for homebuyers. It will reduce compliance costs that are built into the price of a new home, further reducing the financial burden of red tape."

Mr Albin said Sydney needed to produce at least 25,000 new homes per year to cater to future population growth and keep housing prices down. The National Housing Supply Council’s report issued in December 2011, noted NSW has the biggest gap between housing supply and demand of all states.

“Effectively this creates a better regulatory system to protect the environment by creating a consolidated and streamlined approvals process.”

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