Thu, 06 Jun 2024 - 09:49

Constituency Statement - Transport Oriented Development Program

An issue of significant concern to many of my constituents in Bradfield is the New South Wales Labor government's proposed changes to planning rules, which would adversely impact my electorate, including the entire local government area of Ku-ring-gai and significant portions of the Willoughby and Hornsby local government areas. Under the Transport Oriented Development Program, 20,000 new dwellings are expected within 400 metres of Gordon, Killara, Lindfield and Roseville stations in 15 years. Within 400 metres of a train station or designated shopping area, apartment buildings of up to 21 metres in height will be permitted in areas zoned as high-density residential, medium-density residential and general residential. Between 400 and 800 metres away from a train station or designated shopping centre, apartment buildings of up to 16 metres will be permitted. In areas between 400 and 800 metres away from a train station or shopping centre, on any block larger than 500 square metres in size, the new rules will allow an existing freestanding home to be replaced with several terrace houses, each up to 9.5 metres in height, with multidwelling housing or with so-called 'manor houses'—small, two-storey apartment blocks. Duplexes can be built on any residential block as long as it's at least 450 square metres.

On 29 May, the New South Wales government provided each council with a five-year housing target, and the Ku-ring-gai Council's target was set at 7,600. There are several reasons to have concern about the process the New South Wales government has followed and the lack of appropriate weight it has attached to some very important considerations. One of them is heritage. Many suburbs near railway lines have housing stock which is well over 100 years old, reflecting the historic importance of railways in influencing patterns of development. The likely impact of the proposed changes on federation housing stock must be considered. This is a housing type which is distinctively Australian, representative of a vital stage of our history and of which there is a limited stock remaining—and, of that limited stock, a significant proportion is to be found in Ku-ring-gai.

There are many 'village' communities across metropolitan areas which have a distinctive local character, including many such communities in the electorate of Bradfield. These characters have developed over time, but that could now be at risk. There are also environmental considerations. High-density development can result in reduced tree cover, with consequences including higher localised temperatures, reduced habitat for native wildlife, more concrete cover and, hence, more water run-off and other detrimental environmental impacts. There's also the impact on parkland and bushland, because significant localised increases in population could adversely affect nearby national and other parks and areas of remnant natural bushland. Then there is the impact on local infrastructure in terms of demand for local sporting, recreational, parkland and other community facilities. It is important that these considerations are given proper weight in the planning processes.