June Bullivant OAM, one of the of the Founders of the Crown Land Our Land advocacy group recently aired her thoughts about what she labelled the Greater Sydney Con, on her blog site at
What worries me personally most about the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) is as follows:-
- The GSC has been set up to smooth the dramatic growth of Sydney over the next 30 years. But why do we have to accept that Sydney has to grow to more than 6.6 million people by 2036, to quote figures from the Planning NSW web site? Maybe the citizens of NSW would like to see more of that population growth occurring in regional and rural NSW!
- Why is the LNP government not looking at serious job creation in regional and rural NSW so that there is an alternative to pouring money into motorway infrastructure in Sydney that will turn it into the Los Angeles of the 21st century?
- Is there an equivalent organisation to GSC that is driving planning and development of regional and rural NSW?
- I suspect the answer is no, because the Property Council of Australia (PCA) and Urban Task Force (UTF), who represents major developers, property investors, builders and operators of urban transport infra have not told Bulldozer Baird to do so.
- PCA and UTF have an agenda of maximizing windfall profits for their stakeholders. It is quite easy to do that in Sydney which is already bursting at the seams. But promoting jobs and growth is a more challenging, slower process in regional and rural NSW. So there PCA and UTF are not interested, and they haven’t used their influence on Bulldozer Baird to put any effort into planning in the less profitable parts of NSW.
- All the appointees to Greater Sydney Commission have been in the gift ofBulldozer Baird. There are some very talented people working in the GSC as Commissioners or supporting staff. But their jobs are all in the gift of Bulldozer Baird and that is a huge worry to me.
- At the same time as setting up the GSC Bulldozer Baird has been aggressively forcing local councils to merge, which dramatically reduces the time, energy and resources available to locally elected Councillors to challenge the major changes to Sydney that Bulldozer Baird is ramming through now, with only minimal consultation with the public. When there has been some token consultation that does not match the premier’s objectives he simply ignores it!
- Local councillors have previously been elected to represent their residents in debates and negotiations related to Local Environment Plans (LEP) and Development Control Plans (DCP). Baird’s intention is clearly to gradually remove the role of local councils in any planning at all, and is using the glossy GSC as the distraction, while stripping councils of their planning authority.
- In reality all the critical planning decisions are probably being taken by Baird’s “kitchen cabinet” of closest advisers, and not even being reviewed and debated by the full NSW Cabinet.
- Bulldozer Baird has shown himself to be a total autocrat in the past 12 months. No wonder voters at the Orange by-election gave his LNP government a very bloody nose at Orange last month.
- Meanwhile Local Govt Minister Paul Toole has threatened to extend quite unreasonably the time that residents will not be able to vote for their local councillors. This type of bullying has no place in a democracy like Australia. Based on this behaviour Toole has no right to a seat in the NSW Cabinet, and especially to be responsible for local government. His own career as a Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor in the Bathurst region does not shine out as a great example of competence and good governance.
- And to round off community fears with the wayBulldozer Baird is manipulating the planning system of NSW, with the help of the GSC, PCA, UTF and the Committee of Sydney we have him hell-bent selling off a gold-plated, revenue generating cash cow like the NSW Land & Property Information service to the highest bidder in the private sector. Meanwhile who in the Baird Government is showing any sign that they realise the massive governance risk of placing our entire land title system in the hands of the private sector!
Architects for Better Planning in NSW