Ponzi Turnbull launches Sydney decentralisation distraction

By Leith van Onselen

The frequency of #SardineSydney stories in the mainstream media has escalated as the city’s population has swelled way above the capacity of the road, public transport and housing systems.

This angst has led to a recent revolt by both residents and NSW politicians alike, who want the federal government to slash Australia’s immigration intake in order to take the pressure off Sydney’s crush-loaded housing and infrastructure.

Today, the head of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC), Lucy Turnbull, has responded to this pressure by outlining a plan to split Sydney into three activity centres, which the GSC claims will help relieve stress on both housing and infrastructure. From The AFR:

The draft Greater Sydney Region Plan, released on Sunday, has outlined a 40-year vision that aims to encourage residents and businesses to organise themselves around one of three specialised precincts: the Sydney CDB, Parramatta and Badgerys Creek, where Sydney’s second airport will be built.

“It’s time to start planning for our land use, for our livability, for the schools, for all the social places and systems that build a great city,” said Lucy Turnbull, the head of the Greater Sydney Commission, the independent body that produced the plan.

The 170-page document aims to create a land use and transport strategy for the nation’s most populous state. But it does not address how the plan will be funded nor will the state government commit to a train link to the city’s second major airport in western Sydney.

The plan outlines a range of public transport and other options but notes “the transport initiatives are divided into four categories: committed, investigation 0-10 years, investigation 10-20 years and visionary 20+ years. The latter three categories require further investigation and ultimately decisions of government on commitments to funding; none have funding commitments”…

The overarching strategy of the plan will be to encourage the spread of development and jobs away from the Sydney CBD and to the west of the city…

The commission estimates that the population of Greater Sydney will jump from 4.7 million to 8 million by 2056. The increase in residents will mean an additional 817,000 jobs will be required, along with 725,000 more homes by 2056.

Decentralising Sydney is a nice idea in theory, but how does the GSC propose that it be done? The reality on the ground is that Sydney has become more centralised than ever as traditional industries previously located on the fringe or in regional areas have shuttered, replaced by so-called ‘knowledge jobs’ (read ‘bullshit jobs’) concentrated in the CBD. Australia’s policies encouraging property speculation, rent-seeking, unproductive investment and a high dollar have also increased centralisation within the CBD.

Of course, anyone with half a brain knows what is driving Sydney’s failing livability: the federal government’s mass immigration program.

It is this mass immigration program that drove the 845,000 (20%) increase in Sydney’s population in the 12 years to 2016:

And it is Australia’s mass immigration program that is primarily responsible for the 87,000 a year projected increase in Sydney’s population to 6.4 million over the next 20-years – effectively adding another Perth to the city’s population – along with the further increase in Sydney’s population to 8 million by 2056:

You can see from the State Government’s own projections above that Sydney’s population would grow by 1.53 million fewer people over the next 20-years with zero net overseas migration. That’s the equivalent of nearly four Canberras that would not need to be built across the city, along with all the extra cars choking-up Sydney’s roads, as well as extra people cramming public transport.

Rather than navel gazing about ‘decentralisation’, clearly, the best way to alleviate Sydney’s housing and infrastructure woes is for Lucy Turnbull to tap her husband on the shoulder and demand the federal government slash Australia’s immigration program. Because under current mass immigration settings, incumbent residents of Sydney are facing big cuts to their living standards along with expensive infrastructure bills, irrespective of the GSC’s decentralisation policy.

Of course, elites like Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull don’t care, because the bulk of the overcrowding is not projected to occur in wealthy locations like Woollahra, but in the city’s West – home to Sydney’s working class ‘riff raff’:

Rather than take genuine action now to relieve their plight now – by slashing immigration – the Turnbull’s have instead delivered yet another smokescreen by promising to deliver industry and jobs to Western Sydney at some point decades into the future.

The GSC, NSW politicians and residents must recognise that Sydney’s future growth is not a fait accompli, but rather a deliberate policy choice by the federal government and its mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ agenda:

Few Sydneysiders want a city of 8 million people mid-century. The one they have currently is barely functioning properly at 4.7 million.

It’s time residents fight back against elites like Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull who are intent on crushing ordinary workers’ wages growth, driving-up housing costs and congestion, and lowering Sydney’s overall livability.

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Unconventional Economist
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  1. HAs there ever been a family that has been so destructive to the fabric of Sydney’s communities than L & M Turnbull?

    • Lucy’s plan is to create a segregated Sydney, which is a type of Apartheid.

      Looking at the map of train lines, all of them lead into the Sydney CBD. There is no link between smaller CBD’s, say between North Ryde and Paramatta, you need to go via the CBD.

      The old rich liberals will live in the East and North shore (no development planned there). The new great unwashed immigrants will commute in to the CBD to work for the rich and then commute home to their western high rise ghettos.

      Lucy’s racism is not as loud as One Nation’s but far more effective.

      • Parramatta is the geographic center of Sydney, and would be far easier to build transport links to because it also isn’t surrounded on three sides by ocean unlike the current CBD. Like most big cities it already has a ring road around it, the current CBD never will, its not even possible.

        But for all the talk almost all the major new transport links they have built have been to from the city and go nowhere near Parramatta. Now that they have spent tens of billions building things like WestConnex and the Metro they need to funnel ever more commuters on to them to get back the immense cost (via asset sales to private operators of course). So they won’t build a train line to Badgery’s Creek because they already spent $26 building WestConnex so that Western Sydney residents could more easily get to the existing Airport and CBD, and that’s a shit load of tolls they need to collect.

        Mis-spending on poorly planned infrastructure will ensure that Sydney stays in congestion hell for the next forty years.

      • The Epping to Parramatta rail link was planned years ago, but then killed off – first by Nathan Reese, then Tony Abbott. Tony Abbott did it for petty political reasons. But, the Nathan Reese thing makes no sense and we will probably never know why he did it.

  2. ITs worse than that, We have jsut had the boss of Deloitte up here telling all and sundry that robots will never take you job.
    people dont want to walk into a hotel-resort staffed by robots.
    where she misses the point is that tourism- holidays is at the apex of discretionary spending and even with out the roll out of robotics the punters dont have the readies to splash on tourism. (mantra didnt sell out cos business is boomng)
    so exactly how are massive cities going to manage wiht unemployed.
    In case you missed it, GM sales in Detroit are down 20% plus, so Motorcity is on holiday till next year.
    How would something like that go in Western Sydney, the crime rate would go to the moon.

  3. Manly is the obvious place for development. Great views. Great infrastructure. It’s ripe to become the 3rd CBD.


    Get that trending on twatter and watch the hypocrites fumble their lies.

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      NIMBY Manly for Mal and Lucy’s friend, Mike Baird? Have to keep the great unwashed out of Manly and Point Piper?

  4. Who are the greater Sydney Commission? I don’t remember voting for them or anyone that works for them to make decisions.

    • not only that we have probably paid for the 170 page document that will soon be filed in the fiction section of the state library

    • @J Bauer
      Greater Sydney Comission created to give the missus something to do. Jobs for the boys in more ways than one – 170 page crock of s$$t paid for by you and I. I’d love s think tank job – paid a motza to produce rubbish and everyone paid to agree. Pity I don’t have a peni$$$.

    • The State govt passed legislation to create the GSC and in the legislation delegated planning powers of the Minister responsible for planning to the GSC. Basically the creation of the GSC is to deflect backlash from unpopular planning decisions in Sydney to the GSC and away from the State govt – kinda like the way the Feds wanted to deflect political backlash about interest rate setting and thus gave that responsibility to the RBA.

  5. It’s really a split of three different “classes” and shows who is really running the city. The people living out west could be forgiven looking at this plan that they are being put in their place by their overlords. They are just cementing the postcode elitism that exists in Sydney. The “Eastern Sydney” will get all the attractions, protections from development and high value jobs. The middle will get the middle class jobs, and the far west who up to now actually have a good place to live spared from high density development will get a massive “aerotroplis” which sounds like a nightmare in all honesty and warehouse upon warehouse of land the size of pretty much the east side of Sydney. All the poor jobs really and there’s talk of having a “special economic zone” in the area to cement the underprivilege there.

    Again its the poorer classes taking on all the negative externalities of development with smog, traffic (lots of trucks, lack of infrastructure), population growth and no plans for any positive infrastructure that people actually want such as hospitals, schools, parks, things that actually improve quality of life.

  6. Remembering when my friend rang Shortens office to call for lower immigration. He raised the point that post war we allowed around 70000 people under our migration program and now that is quadrupled. He was told this is because we have more people now. So the logic, for want of a better word, is that the more people we have the bigger our immigration program will be.

  7. Turnbull’s analysis is wrong for the same reason that so much economic analysis in Australia is wrong: it fails to account for the effects of constitutional political economy.

    The question one should ask is not, “Why is land so expensive in and around Sydney (and indeed all the State and Territory capital cities)?”

    The questions one should ask are:

    a) “Why is an increasing proportion of Australia’s population squeezed into the State and Territory capital cities?”

    b) “Why are cities like Newcastle or Mackay or Townsville not vast metropolises?” and

    c) “Why does the proportion of the population in and around the capitals increase even as the population increases (contrary to the ‘critical mass’ hypothesis of city formation)?”

    The answer lies in Australia’s system of “elective dictatorship”.

    Under the Westminster system – with its generally supine Legislature – the Cabinet has vast discretion to disburse economic rents to the Ministers’ favourites. Combined with the psychological phenomenon of “presenteeism” (he tendency of human beings to look more favourably upon – and to reward – those who are physically present) this creates a powerful centripetal force drawing people in towards the “Fountainhead of Rents”, the Cabinet. Proximity to Cabinet is a “positional good”. You simply cannot increase its supply, even in principle.

    This phenomenon has been known to historians (but apparently not economists) for centuries. It is the reason that Courtiers had to remain at Court. Absence from Court was a death sentence.

    With the evolution of Absolute Monarchy into the Elective Dictatorship of the modern Westminster system, this effect has not gone away. Court has simply been replaced by Cabinet. Ministers reward those modern-day courtiers – the “primary rent-seekers” – who are physically proximate. The elevated incomes of the primary rent-seekers draws in a second circle of “secondary rent-seekers”, who in turn draw in further circles, the ripple of rents radiating outwards from the “fountainhead”.

    At some distance from the centre there is a circle of equilibrium (like the Heliopause around the Sun with the flow of rents corresponding to the solar wind) at which the costs of approaching the fountainhead exceed the benefits. This is the capital city urban boundary. Beyond it lies the geographic equivalent of inter-stellar space.

    Reducing costs at this boundary may push the “Metropause” outward slightly, but only by drawing in more people from smaller towns far beyond it. (In addition, any relaxation in pressure will encourage the Rulers at the centre to import more people from beyond the borders of the country.)

    Pushing people out to the Metropause may provide some temporary relief. But don’t expect it to last.

    • Extend the ‘court’ analogy to any company of size and you are on the money. You want your part of the company to thrive? You need representation at the Court of your organisation.

    • I work in Docklands Melbourne but grew up in country NE Victoria. I look around here in Docklands and all I see is towers of the money men, sucking in everything like a financial black hole.
      There are no young people in the town where I grew up. There is nothing there for young people. Even the ones who might have been inclined to stay and work the family farm have seen what monopoly capitalism and duopolies does do primary producers, and they understandably want nothing to do with it.

      Everyone gets sucked towards these towers of the money men, hoping either for a seat at the table, or fishing for scraps under the table if the above fails.

  8. Anyone in the Canterbury NSW area next Monday looking for a good dose of hypocrisy….



    We need to stop over development in our area.

    Tony Burke invites you to a forum to discuss the issues affecting local residents.

    Monday 30th October

    Location: Orion Centre, 155 Beamish St, Campsie

    Should be great for a game of spot the NIMBY

    • Unbelievable, albanese in leichhardt and now Obied’s mate in bankstown don’t like what’s happening as a result of man boobs bill’s open borders fantasies

    • Will also be interesting to see who shows because Campsie is already a Chinese/Korean dominated suburb. Will migrants put in an appearance to show opposition to massive over-development of the area? If they do then ALP’s cynical electoral calculus – that migrants support further high immigration – might need re-examining.

  9. Imagine the jobs that could be created with eastward decentralisation! People could live on land reclaimed off Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte and Coogee. Jam an extra 5,000,000 people in floating high-rises off those beaches and make Point Piper the geographical centre of Sydney.

    Not feasible, you say? Is decentralisation just a six syllable code word for “stick more poor buggers out west”?

  10. Cannot understand while increasing the population of Sydney but at the same time destroying the water supply to Sydney by either coal mining and or gas.