Media Release

3 October 2019

The NSW Labor Opposition has called out the Berejiklian Liberal Government for presiding over a “crisis of confidence” in Sydney planning, leaving local residents powerless over the changes happening in their suburb.

In a speech to the Annual Development Engineering Forum, Shadow Minister for Planning and Better Living, Adam Searle, noted that many parts of Sydney were experiencing development fatigue – while others had largely escaped taking their fair share of residential growth.

“Over the last two decades, just five of 15 planning regions have been the recipient of well over half of all development in Sydney,” Mr Searle said. “Those parts of Sydney have development fatigue.”

Liberal Government overdevelopment – inflicting dubious-quality buildings on suburbs without sufficient health, education and transport infrastructure – continues to be a massive issue in areas such as Ryde, Parramatta, Seven Hills, Epping, Riverstone and Camden.

“The current government, when in opposition, campaigned on a platform of ‘returning decisions to local communities’. In government, their approach has been the opposite – to put more decisions into the hands of a range of new bodies – independent planning panels, the Greater Sydney Commission and the Independent Planning Commission” — Adam Searle MLC, Shadow Minister for Planning and Better Living

“There is a crisis of confidence in the current planning system. There are many aspects of life where people do not have control. However, they do hope to be able to exercise some control over what occurs in their street or their suburb,” Mr Searle said.

Mr Searle noted that Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian had talked up cuts of immigration by up to 50 per cent before the March election. However, she had failed to put any concrete proposal on the table, or make a submission to the Morrison Liberal Government.

Meanwhile, Liberal Planning Minister Rob Stokes has floated but done nothing to end the Berejiklian Government’s Priority Precincts scheme (where local development is turbo-charged by the State Government). Mr Stokes has also floated ending the practice of spot rezonings (where developers can circumvent council Local Environment Plans through arrangement with the Berejiklian Government). Labor has moved legislative amendments to ban spot rezoning and is seeking Liberal support.

“It is time the Liberals backed their words with actions and move to restore confidence in a planning system that is broken and in crisis,” Mr Searle added.

READ: Adam’s full speech to the Annual Development Engineering Forum


In the Media

Sydney Morning Herald – 3 October 2019 – ‘Development fatigue’: Sydney’s spread of homes needs ‘rebalancing’

The Guardian – 8 October 2019 – NSW hidden donations: opposition declares ‘crisis of confidence’ in planning system