Overdevelopment across Sydney is about to worsen

By Leith van Onselen

The revolt against Sydney’s break-neck population growth and declining liveability last year forced the NSW Government to postpone plans to force councils to take on more infill development. However, that moratorium is now coming to an end, meaning that from July, Sydney Councils will be forced to accommodate swathes of medium and high density housing. From Domain:

Under the medium-density housing code announced in April last year, duplexes, terraces and manor houses — a two-storey building made up of four dwellings — can be approved as complying developments, on blocks as narrow as 12 metres in as little as 20 days.

These properties would skip the development application process, prompting fears of a development-forced strain on infrastructure that is already groaning under Sydney’s growing population.

The resulting backlash saw former planning minister Anthony Roberts hit the brakes on the new rules a month after they were announced, with the code ultimately deferred by a year in 49 municipalities, to give the councils time to review their local housing strategies and update their local environmental plans. The changes were delayed by two years in Ryde, one of the city’s fastest growing areas…

But nearly a year on, more than half of all affected councils are understood to be unprepared. Many have requested more time before the code is introduced or a permanent exemption. Increased minimum lot sizes and banning manor houses are among changes councils want to make to their own rules.

The overdevelopment and destruction of liveability across Sydney is inevitable as long as the ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration policy is allowed to continue.

According to Urban Taskforce projections, Sydney will transform into a high-rise ‘battery chook’ city mid-century, whereby only one quarter of all homes will be detached houses:

Moreover, modelling from Infrastructure Australia’s shows that liveability in Sydney will decline further as the city’s population grows to 7.4 million people by 2046, irrespective of whether the city builds up like New York, sprawls-out like Los Angeles, or does a London-style combination. That is, traffic congestion will unambiguously worsen and access to jobs, schools, hospitals and green space will all decline:

Therefore, Sydney is facing a future whereby only the wealthy elite will be able to afford to live in a detached house with a backyard, while the ordinary folk are crammed into high density slums with worsening amenity.

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Unconventional Economist


  1. Strange Economics of IO and NGMEMBER

    Only when Vaucluse and Toorak are zoned for 20 storey highrise will anyone in power equate higher immigration rate as excessive.
    Apparently there were just 5 small apartment blocks built in Vaucluse electorate, and 300 in Ryde…

    Bring on rezoning where the politicians live, not just in Ryde,,,

    • 100% Agree, I stand by the fact that almost nothing would galvanise the elite and expose their hypocrisy like an elected official proposing just that! BUT equally, the only thing that would see you immediately attacked and ejected from office quicker would be a serious PC faux pas!

    • Exactly! Further you drive away from the city and politically influential councils the buildings get taller. Meriton, in Dee Why, 17 storeys. Ryde, Macq Park they are going for 50+ storeys. Parra they easily get approved for 70+. So you end up with denser living further away from the city and daily migration and commuting nightmare.

      • It is a weird situation where the high-density living is 15-20km from the city, while closer in the wealthy live in low density houses.

    • The prevailing attitude is that the poor are lucky to have a roof of any description over their heads, so umm, why the whining?

  2. We need a “Peak Hour Public Transport Challenge” for politicians. Name and shame those don’t experience the joy of peak hour commuting.

  3. “The overdevelopment and destruction of liveability across Sydney is inevitable as long as the ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration policy is allowed to continue.”

    I just finished watching the 3rd leaders debate. Again both parties colluded to not mention immigration. Hugely disappointing. Then they wonder why people don’t trust politicians and vote for minor parties.