Australia: How do we live the Greater Sydney Commission liveability dream?

It is not currently clear from the plans what role individual developments (and developers) will have in developing and delivering on this strategy.

The draft District Plans adopt a holistic approach to liveability, envisaging cohesive communities with housing diversity and affordability, shared spaces and great services intrinsically linked to Greater Sydney's geographic, demographic, socio-economic and future growth conditions.

These plans set a blueprint for how Greater Sydney will grow over the next 20 years so it is vital everyone understands how their land and businesses will be affected, and make submissions to the Greater Sydney Commission before the draft District Plans are finalised.

The draft District Plans are thousands of pages long, so the Greater Sydney Commission has set an epic challenge for developers, business investors, land owners, councils, affordable housing and community housing stakeholders to understand what the plans mean for them.

We've prepared a series of articles looking at sustainability, liveability and productivity, as these priorities will have significant implications for how Greater Sydney will grow over the next 20 years.

Liveability priorities for the Central District

  • Delivering the Central District's five-year housing supply target of 46,550 dwellings;
  • Investigating areas for renewal to increase housing capacity, including Banksia and Arncliffe, Rhodes East, Parramatta Road, waterfront land around Blackwattle Bay, Cooks Cove and the inner city rail corridor from Central to Eveleigh;
  • Increasing housing diversity by prioritising more medium density row, terrace and villa homes. More smaller homes, group homes and aged care facilities will be required due to the expected increasing proportion of older people and people with a disability in the District; and
  • Improving affordability of housing through an Affordable Rental Housing Target and increasing social housing. Green Square and Waterloo are marked as renewal areas to provide a greater mix of social and private housing.

Liveability priorities for the North District

  • Delivering the North District's five-year housing supply target of 25,950 dwellings;
  • Increasing housing capacity. Potential areas for expansion include the St Leonards and Crows Nest Station Precinct, Macquarie Park and Northern Beaches Hospital;
  • Improving housing affordability, as the draft District Plans show that only 9% of people in the North District are satisfied with the affordability of houses;
  • Improving housing diversity to cater for the increasing proportion of older people and people with a disability, through additional smaller homes, group homes, adaptable housing and aged care facilities. Further, additional medium density row, terrace and villa homes are also needed to compensate for the significant supply of apartments; and
  • Improving access to services, particularly school facilities, child care and health services.

Liveability priorities for the West Central District

  • Delivering the West Central District's five-year housing supply target of 53,500 dwellings;
  • Develop a number of areas with a strong focus on the Greater Parramatta and Olympic Peninsula (GPOP) area and the North West;
  • Planning for the GPOP area to be the heart of West Central and of Greater Sydney;
  • Creating a link between West Central and Sydney City via the Sydney West Metro;
  • Ensuring long-term liveability through a design-led planning process;
  • Seeking to address undersupply of housing by creating new communities for Marsden Park North, West Schofields and Shanes Park; and
  • Delivering West Central's new communities through partnerships between local council, UrbanGrowth NSW, Communities Plus and the private sector.

Liveability priorities for the West District

  • Delivering West District's five-year housing supply target of 8,400 dwellings;
  • Recognising areas which have capacity to increase housing supply, such as the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Penrith, with Penrith being expected to deliver the most dwellings as a result of significant growth in its land release areas;
  • Setting education infrastructure as a key priority with a strong focus on early education and childcare facilities;
  • Planning for co-location facilities which enable primary schools and offices to be used as child care centres; and
  • Supporting the Aboriginal community through the Aboriginal Centre of Excellence, a $20 million facility which will deliver programs and services for young Aboriginals.

Liveability priorities for the South West District

  • Delivering the District's five-year housing supply target of 31,450 dwellings;
  • Creating new communities rather than simply building new houses;
  • Increasing housing supply in Marylands, Catherine Field North, Catherine Field, Lowes Creek, and Bringelly in the South West Priority Growth Area, as well as the Greater Macarthur Priority Growth Area and the Wilton New Town Priority Growth Area; and
  • Improving housing diversity to cater for the growing ageing and disabled population through additional smaller homes, adaptable homes and aged care facilities, as well as more medium density row, terrace and villa homes.

Liveability priorities for the South District

  • Delivering South District's five-year housing supply target of 23,250 dwellings;
  • Investigating opportunities for increasing housing supply within the Canterbury-Bankstown and Georges River Local Government Areas;
  • Improving housing diversity through increasing medium density row, terrace and villa homes;
  • Improving housing affordability through supporting social housing, with initiatives having already commenced in Riverwood;
  • Creating more community and recreational spaces, with the potential for shared use of school facilities with the community; and
  • Continuing with current planning for health infrastructure, including an expansion of Sutherland Hospital and redevelopment of St George Hospital.

Implications for developers

The impact of District Plans will be far-reaching and will drive opportunities for growth in Greater Sydney over the next 20 years. There are many avenues which can influence what the District Plans (when finalised) will mean for property and business owners, investors and developers, including Council amalgamations, interface across government sectors, changes to the planning legislative framework, transport, delivery of housing stock and infrastructure delivery.

Developers should be aware that councils will be required to prepare a local housing strategy or to collaborate with other councils to prepare a district housing strategy, which must consider the implementation of the housing targets and improving affordability and diversity.

Meeting the housing targets will depend on many things (including actions by the relevant planning authorities) from enabling planning controls through to development assessment, so it is not currently clear from the plans what role individual developments (and developers) will have in developing and delivering on this strategy.

What next?

With submissions on the draft District Plans closing on 31 March 2017 it is crucial to understand the key priorities for each District and how they will affect properties and business investments.

We can help you better understand the impacts on your landholdings and businesses or help you prepare formal submissions to the draft District Plans by 31 March 2017.


Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.

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