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.