Sydney is a globally facing, diverse and appealing city.
It is a ‘contender’ city prominent against global benchmarks relative to its size and economic role. Sydney has reached this status despite underperforming in areas that are increasingly valued in global benchmarks as well as decades of under investment in strategic planning, urbanisation and infrastructure.
Over the past few years, things have changed. With the establishment of the Greater Sydney Commission and record expenditure on infrastructure, especially in road and rail, there is great scope to ensure Sydney’s strong brand is not let down by its performance.
Tomorrow’s Sydney will only be great if we make the right choices now. Choices that focus on how to grow Sydney well, improve the timely delivery of social infrastructure and engage communities in genuine dialogue about how to grow their suburb, town or city well.
By 2050 Sydney’s population will be about 8 million and growing. To ensure it is a great global city we need to focus on managing that success by dealing with unaffordability and congestion, deliver the Greater Sydney Commission’s 30-minute, polycentric vision and improve amenity and liveability by focusing on creating great places.
The Property Council is proud to be a member of the Good Growth Alliance, a collective of not-for-profit organisations focussed on making Sydney 2050 the best it can be.
The New South Wales planning system is broken.
Research commissioned by the Property Council confirms it remains the worst planning system in the country. It is characterised by delay, cost, lack of transparency and uncertainty of outcome. It lets down the communities it is meant to serve as well as the industries that need a fair and predictable process.
Creating a transparent, fast, reliable planning system should be among the highest priorities for the next government of this State. The property industry wants the same thing as the community from the planning system – a strong strategic planning framework, consultation with the community and an efficient, effective and economical process that delivers high amenity places.
In greater Sydney, the strategic plans have been prepared. The task now is to translate the Greater Sydney Commission’s plans into the local context by the end of 2019. But, good outcomes can only be achieved through fundamental improvements to how the planning system works and a continued commitment to enhancing merit-based assessment.
An independent, certain and transparent planning system is a building block of better communities, economic growth and jobs.
According to the Greater Sydney Commission, Sydney needs 725,000 more homes by 2036 to meet the population growth we are likely to experience. To meet this challenge more than 40,000 new homes need to be delivered each and every year, Government needs to keep a clear focus on ensuring housing is being delivered at the necessary rate.
But, meeting Sydney’s housing challenge is not just about meeting the overall target. It is about putting the right type and number of homes in the right locations in the timeliest manner possible. It is also about ensuring government fees, levies, taxes and charges don’t further worsen Sydney’s housing affordability challenge.
To deliver much needed homes, we need to ensure there is serviced land available for greenfield development around the existing Sydney fringe. We also need to urbanise existing communities and build more medium density, high amenity housing around new and existing transport nodes.
Delivering more homes also means ensuring policy settings support a strong retirement living sector to encourage right sizing for our over 65s and backing the establishment of a build-to-rent sector in New South Wales to give renters a better, more secure housing option.
Great infrastructure is the backbone of strong communities.
It helps build successful places, connects people better and makes our city work.
Key components of the liveability of any successful city – access to jobs, education and community services – rely on infrastructure to get us there.
With our growing population and history of underinvestment, the timely provision of economic, transport, social and green infrastructure is critical.
Record State infrastructure investment over the past eight years – topped up by Commonwealth Government commitment to city shaping transport projects is starting to make a difference.
This focus needs to be sustained and long-term funding commitments realised. Overcoming the State infrastructure deficit is a generational task and will require strong political and financial commitment.
It is imperative that Federal, State and local government work together and in partnership with industry to deliver an evidence-based outcome.
New South Wales’ tax environment heavily influences our attractiveness as an investment destination.
Not only do we compete for capital with other Australian states and cities, we increasingly compete with international jurisdictions as part of the global economy.
Property taxes currently represent 54 per cent of state-sourced revenue and are the major source of income at the local government level apart from council rates.
It is property that is paying more than any other industry to keep the State’s finances strong. In total this equates to $20 billion in taxes each and every year.
It is critical that New South Wales does better to ensure a pipeline of domestic and off shore investment to deliver the homes, infrastructure and jobs that will keep our communities and economy strong.
Outside of Sydney, the Illawarra-Shoalhaven and Hunter and Central Coast regions are vital to the State’s economy and are also vibrant, growing and distinctive communities.
The Hunter is Australia’s largest regional economy valued at over $40 billion. The region is prospering supported by a highly professional and skilled workforce and strong education, health, tourism, manufacturing and defence sectors. This is underpinned by a strong and diversified property sector.
At the heart of the Hunter is Newcastle – a city undergoing a transformation, being revitalised through public and private investment with projected population growth of nearly 20 per cent to 2036, getting the policy levers right will secure the region’s future.
The Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions with Wollongong at their centre is becoming one of the most popular regions to live, work and play. It is the third largest regional economy in New South Wales with a mix of traditional and emerging industries.
Wollongong has a great strategic location. It is close to both eastern Sydney as well as the Aerotropolis being established around the Western Sydney Airport that will form strong links with Port Kembla.
The challenge is to take advantage of these economic drivers while still retaining Wollongong’s distinctive character and creating greater local communities.