Productivity Commissioner’s report falls short on delivering homes

UDIA NSW applauds the intent of the ‘Rebooting the NSW Economy’ white paper released this morning by the Productivity Commissioner but warns that it does not go far enough to deliver the homes people desperately need and that the recent changes by the NSW Government mean delivery of land for new homes in NSW is still going backwards.

While incentives and penalties, tipped to be imposed on local governments to ensure they are delivering on housing targets are welcomed, the Report doesn’t go far enough in unblocking the supply of homes for ordinary people. The report does not assist in speeding up land release, re-zonings and enabling infrastructure.

Unfortunately, the NSW Government is currently undermining the economic recovery through its excessive changes to planning regulations including its ultra conservative approach to flooding, its removing of the flexibility to carry out construction on weekends (even where there are no noise implications) and the intended direction of the Design and Place SEPP. These actions have created huge concern and uncertainty across the industry Which will ripple through the community and the State’s economy.

UDIA NSW has long advocated for reform of planning agencies to speed up the delivery of homes and reduce their cost. Today’s announcement is welcome, particularly in terms of the anticipated boost in gross state product of over $3billion by 2029.

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Invitation to attend NextGen West Urban Development Conference

Following the recent launch of our NextGen West: Delivering the City of the Future campaign in partnership with Business Western Sydney, UDIA NSW is hosting a one-day interactive conference with captains of the development industry and key government and city shaping leaders, who will discuss the major planning and infrastructure projects and issues affecting Greater Western Sydney and help determine the outcome of the Western Parkland City.

During the conference, we will be presenting UDIA Building Blocks Greater Western Sydney 2021 a significant piece of research, which UDIA has produced every three years over the past decade.  The 2021 report was produced in collaboration with Infrastructure and Development Consulting (IDC) and identified the missing catalytic infrastructure on land that is rezoned and ‘ready to go’ and which could unlock approximately 70,000 lots in key areas of Western Sydney, creating 40,000 jobs and delivering close to $17 billion to the NSW economy over the next three years. The investment in the enabling infrastructure identified has been costed at approximately $423m which is equivalent to $6,000 per lot.

The report pinpoints areas where the last missing piece of infrastructure is waiting to be delivered.  It provides clear recommendations on the critical infrastructure investment needed to accelerate land holdings that can supply dwellings to market within 3 years, across four of Sydney’s Growth Centres including the North West Growth Area, the South West Growth Area, Greater Macarthur and Wilton.  It also shows that only one third of the enabling infrastructure identified in 2018 report has been built over the last three years.

Our technology partner Giraffe Technologies will also be demonstrating for the first time, innovative technology that powers the Urban Development Program process – a digital tool designed to fast track the planning and delivery of enabling infrastructure and which enables planners to see into the future via a 3D city model.

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Urban Development Program Technology allows planners to see into the future

Planning for major precinct developments has traditionally been a complex and lengthy process involving multiple stakeholders, often with competing remits, budgetary challenges and community priorities that all too often results in paralysis in the ability to make decisions or compromises that result in poor place making outcomes.

It is clear that we need a better, more strategic approach to the planning and delivery of enabling infrastructure, to ensure we have a robust development pipeline in NSW.

As part of our passion for creating affordable, liveable smart cities, UDIA NSW has instigated its own  Urban Development Program (UDP) process, enabled by innovative digital technology. UDP is designed to fast track the planning and delivery of enabling infrastructure and improve productivity and with rapid business case capability, able to improve collaboration between industry and government.

We are pleased that the NSW Government has committed to adopting an Urban Development Program (UDP) in Sydney this year and our technology partner at Giraffe Technologies will demonstrate the future potential with the Urban Pinboard UDP 3D City model at our NextGen West Urban Development Conference this Thursday.

“Digital twin and 3D computational design is here right now… and it’s time for government to embrace this future and improve the productivity of our industry.” said Steve Mann, UDIA NSW CEO.

UDIA NSW Urban Development Program will be launched at our NextGen West Urban Development Conference on Thursday May 20.

Background to the UDIA South West Urban Development Program Pilot

An important aspect of the process was to bring together industry, local government, and state government in a series of forums in Sydney’s South-West, so that we not only heard their individual issues, but also applied their specific requirements into the process.
The UDP digital tool delivers better precincts by providing:

  • An accessible and interactive map of future infrastructure delivery and planned development facilitating better co-ordination, reduced delivery times and lower costs;
  • Planning tools that allow for rapid simulation of different outcomes based on user-defined constraints, enabling a quick exploration of options and timely response to community feedback;
  • A 3D digital twin of the existing city that enables planners to visualize the necessary infrastructure and decision making required to plan the future city
  • Easy and accessible communication with the community;

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UDIA report identifies key infrastructure gaps to enable housing supply

In launching its Building Blocks Greater Western Sydney 2021 report tomorrow at the NextGen West Urban Development Conference, UDIA NSW warns of the major economic impact from lengthy and unnecessary delays in delivering enabling infrastructure, causing a housing supply crisis and an accelerating affordability crisis.

In the 2021 report, UDIA NSW has identified the missing catalytic infrastructure on land that is rezoned and  ‘ready to go’ and which could unlock approximately 70,000 lots in key areas of Western Sydney, creating 40,000 jobs and delivering close to $17 billion to the NSW economy over the next three years. The investment in the enabling infrastructure identified has been costed at approximately $423m which is equivalent to only $6,000 per lot.

The report also shows that only one third of the enabling infrastructure identified in 2018 Building Blocks report has been built over the last three years, which illustrates the lost opportunity over the last 3 years and the need for Government to move away from “business as usual’ (which is clearly not achieving results).

In our pre-budget submission to the NSW Treasurer, we provided recommendations as to how this investment could be funded including the creation of a new fund as part of a wider “Jobs and Affordability” (JAffa) Program. We also recommended direct funding be provided for key regional road and water projects like the Housing Affordability Fund (HAF).

UDIA Building Blocks Greater Western Sydney 2021 report is a significant piece of research produced in collaboration with Infrastructure and Development Consulting (IDC).  The report pinpoints areas where the last missing piece of infrastructure is waiting to be delivered.  It provides clear recommendations on the critical infrastructure investment needed to accelerate land holdings that can supply dwellings to market within 3 years, across four of Sydney’s Growth Centres including the North West Growth Area, the South West Growth Area, Greater Macarthur and Wilton.

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Appointment of Independent Community Commissioner Critical to Success of Aerotropolis

The success of the Western Parklands City will hinge greatly on the successful delivery of the aerotropolis and its integration with the existing regional centres in Western Sydney.

Unfortunately, the nine Government agencies involved in the Western Parklands City are creating complexity and confusion through multiple overlapping responsibilities.

UDIA NSW welcomes the appointment of Professor Roberta Ryan and hopes that by engaging with landowners and addressing their concerns, the government will help to resolve these challenges and move to embrace the major development opportunities for Western Sydney.

UDIA NSW has partnered with Business Western Sydney in the NextGen West campaign, which is looking to address this issue, along with five other strategic deliverables, to ensure Western Sydney is developed to be one of the great places to live and work in Australia.

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UDIA NSW Welcomes guidelines to build resilience into communities affected by natural disasters

The draft Strategic Guide to Planning for Natural Hazards in NSW, released today by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, is designed to address the impacts and costs of extreme weather events, which are expected to increase as our population grows.

Provided in the context of a changing climate, where natural hazards are also becoming more frequent and intense making them increasingly unpredictable, the guidelines also consider urbanised areas that are exposed to natural hazards such as floodplains, coastlines and lands adjacent to bushland.

However, risk is a fact of life and the NSW Government should not be fooled into thinking that it can wave a magic wand and remove all risk from natural hazards. An overly cautious approach will stifle the economy, destroy jobs and reduce housing affordability.

We need to see a reasonable balance that provides solutions to mitigate risks.

UDIA NSW CEO Steve Mann says “UDIA NSW wants to see an appropriate risk management-based approach to protect people and property, whilst delivering the housing and jobs that we need.”

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