Submission to the Metropolitan Strategy Review Discussion Paper Sydney Towards 2036
MACROC welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Metropolitan Strategy Review Discussion Paper Sydney Towards 2036. It also welcomes the commitment by the NSW Government to incorporate the recently released Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities into the review of the Metropolitan Strategy.
MACROC has prepared separate submissions for the Metropolitan Transport Plan and the Metropolitan Strategy Review Discussion Paper; however it is important that the submissions be considered as one, given the connection between transport and land use and all other aspects of metropolitan planning.
The MACROC Councils, Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly, recognise the importance of long-term planning within the State Government’s overall vision for the future of Sydney’s growth.
Each of the MACROC Councils has made individual submissions to the Department identifying the particular issues in the Discussion Paper that apply to their local government areas.
It should be noted that the MACROC Councils have a unified vision of the future of the Macarthur region as a whole and are working cooperatively with each other to accommodate individual local needs within a framework of the bigger picture of regional development.
The Metropolitan Strategy Review Discussion Paper Sydney Towards 2036 seeks community input into the future directions for the Sydney Metropolitan Area. The Discussion Paper identifies 10 directions and poses a number of questions in relation to each direction. The ten directions are:
1. Planning for a Growing Population. Implement sustainable planning for a growing population.
2. Making Sydney Climate Change Ready. Address the vulnerability of Sydney to a changing
climate and a carbon constrained future.
3. Integrating Land Use with Transport. Get best value from investment in transport
infrastructure with integrated land use planning.
4. More Jobs in the Sydney Region. Boost job growth by providing a good supply of land for
5. Growing Sydney’s Value. Increase diversity of employment to strengthen local economies
and provide a wider range of jobs closer to home.
6. Strengthening a City of Cities. Improve the capacity of Sydney to accommodate the
majority of its housing growth within existing urban areas.
7. Meeting Changing Housing Needs. Ensure a wider mix of housing types and costs across
Sydney in response to an ageing population and changing household preferences.
8. Balanced Land Uses on the City Fringe. Plan for new housing in greenfield areas, while
protecting land for primary production, open space and conservation needs.
9. Achieving Renewal. Build communities through redevelopment.
10. Implementation. Implement a revised Metropolitan Strategy.
MACROC broadly supports these ten directions, however would like to make the following comments.
1. Planning for a Growing Population
The debate about planning for a growing population in Sydney should be viewed in the broader context of a national discussion on the capacity and sustainability of cities across Australia to grow. Regional areas are in need of more employment to provide for existing communities and to prevent population decline. Sydney does not need to accommodate the majority of population for New South Wales.
That being said in the context of South West Sydney, the Sub Region is targeted to accommodate the biggest population growth in Greater Sydney. Because of this projected population growth, detailed planning needs to be done on a sub regional level and the draft sub regional strategy needs to revised in consultation with Local Government before it is finalised.
2. Making Sydney Climate Change Ready
Western Sydney, particularly the South West, is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, particularly in terms of a rise in extreme temperature levels. MACROC considers that good planning, measures such as encouraging the use of renewal energy and recycling, can have a positive impact on resource management.
However the most effective way of mitigating the effects of climate change would be to reduce the use of private vehicles. The State Government needs to give firm commitment to provision of better public transport, not just to the Sydney CBD, but for cross regional links as well. It also needs to maintain its commitment to not releasing new residential developments until adequate public infrastructure has been provided.
Maintaining the Sydney Basin’s green space will also help maintain better air quality and reduce heat levels.
3. Integrating Land Use with Transport
MACROC considers the focus on urban renewal in the Metropolitan Strategy Review as appropriate as it makes the best use of existing resources and goes some way to preventing urban sprawl.
However the development of centres should not be a blanket approach; rather it should be a policy that can be tailored to an appropriate location. Importantly environmental and heritage factors would need to be considered when framing such a policy.
Better transport is critical for the sustainable growth of Western Sydney and essential in providing access for all Sydney residents to employment opportunities available across Greater Sydney. The existing public transport and road infrastructure in Sydney and in the South West in particular is currently beyond capacity at peak times and population growth will exacerbate this further.
4. More Jobs in the Sydney Region
In terms of employment in South West Sydney the most important issues is the disparity between population growth and job growth. The Metropolitan Transport Plan identifies the following projections:
New dwellings (2010-2020) 50,580
New jobs (2010-2020) 35,080
These projections equate to a ratio of 0.69 jobs per dwelling. This compares to the North West of Sydney which is projected to have a ration of 1.08 jobs per dwelling.
The projections for the South West are based on only one person being employed for every dwelling built. Clearly given the financial burden of a large mortgage it is more likely that most dwellings will require two jobs.
South West Sydney will be even more disadvantaged in terms of employment opportunities, particular opportunities closer to home. The Metropolitan Strategy Review provides no detail of how job opportunities will be provided.
Employment land in South West Sydney should be identified to meet future needs. Consultation with Local Government is essential regarding the correct location of these employment lands. A wider view of what land is permitted for zoned industrial land could encourage a broader diversity of employment opportunities.
MACROC is pleased that Campbelltown-Macarthur has been identified as a Major Centre that will be revitalised under the Metropolitan Strategy, however there is no detail provided as to what funding will be available to facilitate this process.
The MACROC commissioned report “Employment Prospects for South West Sydney”1 recommends that “Employment generation needs to be recognised as a priority planning consideration in the South West.” MACROC believes that the South West needs particular assistance from the State Government in terms of promoting economic growth.
5. Growing Sydney’s Value
MACROC would argue that while land zoning and flexible development controls can help encourage business to establish in new growth areas there also needs to be Government incentives. In addition improving transport and infrastructure in the area will also encourage the relocation of businesses to the South West.
Elevating Campbelltown-Macarthur from Major Centre status to that of Regional City would also enhance the value of the South West and increase job creation. It would also give Campbelltown-Macarthur access to additional funding avenues that would assist in future planning and development.
In terms of enhancing Sydney’s role as a global city MACROC would like to make the following comment. Current and proposed development for the Sydney CBD will provide the employment growth capacity needed. The State Government would be better to focus on how it can increase employment prospects for the sub regions of Greater Sydney rather than on the CBD. The three Regional Cities, Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool and the Major Centre of Campbelltown-Macarthur should be the focus of the Government’s efforts in terms of job creation.
6. Strengthening a City of Cities
MACROC supports the Metropolitan Strategy Review’s focus on the hierarchy of centres however believes that Campbelltown-Macarthur should be elevated from a Major Centre to a Regional City given it’s significant attractions: fast train route to the CBD; University of Western Sydney Campus (including the Medical School), Campbelltown Hospital, Macarthur Square and Mount Annan Botanic Garden. Changing the status of Campbelltown-Macarthur would help transform the area into a sustainable region that could provide good opportunities in terms of employment, health, education etc.
A vibrant centre is one that is active both day and night, is safe and well connected with community space. The Draft Centres Policy needs to encourage vibrant centres by making a mix of land available, by offering planning incentives and by adopting flexible planning controls to encourage good development.
7. Meeting Changing Housing Needs
Encouraging smaller houses on smaller blocks is one way of providing affordable housing. However it is important that the form of housing is appropriate to the location and that all forms of housing are designed to a high standard.
An increase in housing diversity in the South West Sydney Sub Region needs to be accompanied by a firm commitment by the Government to provide sustainable transport and other infrastructure.
8. Balancing Land Uses on the City Fringe
MACROC is a member of the Agricultural Review Group convened by I & I NSW and the NSW Department of Planning. The Group is currently working on a ministerial options paper to make recommendations on how to manage and protect Sydney’s agricultural lands. Valuable lands need to be quarantined from development. Producers need assurances of the continuation of their businesses and security of land and of water access.
There is still considerable “land banking” on the fringe of Sydney and that fuels speculation that this land is waiting for development. The State Government needs look at options that quarantine agricultural lands and send a message to the development industry that this land is not for development.
MACROC supports the containment of Sydney’s urban footprint and government regulation to protect rural and agricultural lands in the Sydney Basin. It also considers that more should be done to encourage sustainable food production in the Sydney Basin.
The policy of concentrating Greenfields developments in Growth Centres is a good one as it will help contain what in the past has been sprawling Greenfield development.
9. Achieving Renewal
MACROC understands that the Department of Planning has commissioned a retail study to confirm the role, function and floor space capacity for future centres within the Growth Centres. It is hoped that the Department will make this study available to the public so it can inform planning for new centres.
MACROC supports the focus of growth around areas that are close to existing transport and other services. However increased population will mean increased pressure on these services so substantial transport and other infrastructure needs to be provided before development occurs.
Again adequate transport is one of the major barriers to residents accessing key services in South West Sydney. Many key services for Camden and Wollondilly residents are located in Campbelltown. Improved intra regional public transport and road infrastructure would improve access to services and a greater level of Government funding would assist in delivering of better access to services for all residents of the region.
If the new Sydney Metropolitan Authority is to be successful in helping to achieve the goals set out in the Metropolitan Strategy then it needs an appropriate model that will focus not just on urban renewal but also on delivery of other aspects of the Metropolitan Strategy. The former Growth Centres Commission could provide a good model as it was committed to a whole of government approach to urban development.
If the model adopted for the Sydney Metropolitan Authority is not an appropriate one then there is concern that it would place further limits on Local Government’s control of development and redevelopment. If the Sydney Metropolitan Authority has the power to acquire and amalgamate land, that will conflict with the strategic planning that Councils are undertaking to ensure future development reflects landscape and heritage and that growth continues to be located close to exiting centres.
11. What Else?
The proposed ten directions for the development of Sydney are supported in general; however the actions and budget needed to achieve these directions are not detailed in the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy Review and will need careful consideration.
There is also a gap in the Metropolitan Strategy in that there is no identification of environmental (apart from climate change) and heritage issues.
Given that South West Sydney is targeted for the majority of population growth in the period from now until 2036 the region needs infrastructure provision to be the Government’s major priority.
The Sydney Metropolitan Strategy and the South West Sydney Sub Regional Strategy need to clearly identify the infrastructure needed to provide for further growth and commit to the provision of that infrastructure.
MACROC is pleased that the Government has re-committed to the South West Rail Link however there also needs to be commitment to the Spring Farm Parkway and to the Badgally Road extension.
Both the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy and the South West Sydney Sub Regional Strategy need to indicate how future employment targets are to be met and what assistance the Government will provide to help achieve these targets. Strategies need to encourage not only increased job numbers but also a diversity of employment choices including a focus on attracting more white collar jobs to the region.
MACROC would suggest that the Hill PDA report “Employment Prospects for South West Sydney” is a critical document which could be used to inform the South West Sydney Sub Regional Strategy.
The provision of better public transport and improved inter regional connectivity are essential for the sustainable development of South West Sydney given that the area is targeted to accommodate the major proportion of Sydney’s growth. Provision of better public transport has beneficial environmental effects, benefits for family and community, and provides the community with better access to health, education and employment.
In addition to provision of better public transport the State Government needs to provide clear direction on how the employment set targets for South West Sydney are to be met and what assistance will be provided by the Government to assist Local Government in meeting these targets. Identification of suitable sites for the future employment needs of the region needs to be undertaken in consultation with Local Government on a coordinated sub regional level.
The review of the Metropolitan Strategy and the review of the Sub Regional Strategies provide the State Government in consultation with Local Government with an excellent opportunity to improve the strategic planning of the Sydney Metropolitan area, particularly if these strategies are integrated with the Metropolitan Transport Plan.
Once these strategies have been integrated however the Government will need to provide firm details of how employment targets are to be met and how integrated land use and transport solutions are to be financed and delivered.
MACROC thanks you for the opportunity to provide input into the Metropolitan Strategy Review. It is hoped that the comments made in this submission will be considered by the Department of Planning together with the individual submissions made by MACROC Member Councils: Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly. MACROC considers that the Metropolitan Strategy Review provides an excellent opportunity for the State Government in partnership with Local Government to develop a sustainable long term strategic and planning framework for Metropolitan Sydney.
Prepared by MACROC May 2010
1 “Employment Prospects for South West Sydney” Hill PDA. August 2008
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