NSW Planning Minister: Population growth impossible to control

After last week attacking so-called “NIMBY baby boomers” for opposing high-rise development across Sydney, NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, claims it is “a completely quixotic quest” to try and control Sydney’s growth [my emphasis]:

In the next 17 years, Sydney’s population is expected to grow by 1.5 million people, a large percentage of whom will pour into the south-west growth corridor…

Conceding that the city is spreading too far too fast, Planning Minister Rob Stokes has revealed that he wants a new relationship with councils to help manage growth and infrastructure pressures.

“We want to help shape growth,” Mr Stokes said.

“Even if it were a desirable outcome to restrict growth, and I am not sure it necessarily is, but even if that is what people wanted to do that is a completely quixotic quest.

“You can’t stop it, so the best thing you can do is work together”…

What a load of gaslighting rubbish. Sydney’s current population growth has been caused almost entirely by net overseas migration (NOM):

And all of Sydney’s future 4.5 million projected population increase will come from NOM:

Therefore, Sydney’s population growth could easily be “restricted” by simply returning Australia’s NOM back to the historical average of around 70,000, from 250,000 currently:

Heck, even cutting NOM to 100,000 – still a generous intake – would greatly reduce Sydney’s future population increase.

Sure, immigration policy is set by the federal government, so in this sense it is out of the NSW State Government’s control.

But why isn’t the NSW Government lobbying hard for deep cuts to the migrant intake? As the nation’s largest state, and the centre of political power, it could force the federal government’s hand.

After all, the overwhelming majority of NSW residents strongly oppose further population growth:

They know that population growth means more over-development, crush-loaded infrastructure and services, and lower living standards.

Their views are also explicitly supported by Infrastructure Australia’s modelling, which shows projects worsening traffic congestion, longer commute times, and reduced access to jobs, schools, hospitals and green space as Sydney swells to a projected 7.4 million people by 2046 under ongoing mass immigration, regardless of whether Sydney builds up or builds out:

Current mass immigration settings also means that Sydney will turn into a high-rise battery chook city mid-century, according to Urban Taskforce projections:

Rather than attacking his own constituents, Rob Stokes should represent them and lobby the federal government to slash immigration, given it is the driver of Sydney’s projected population explosion, over-development, and falling living standards.

Unconventional Economist


  1. Should embrace this and demand development in places like Point Piper.

    And definitely the Greens seat Balmain.

    It’ll increase opposition to immigration.

    • Strange EconomicsMEMBER

      Point Piper and Toorak are perfectly suited to 30 storey apartment blocks. Good Facilities, transport , parkland.
      If you decide to house another million this is the location.
      And make it affordable low rent housing…

      Turn the private schools into public and they have plenty of schools too…

  2. Last year “common sense” Gladys called for migration into NSW to be HALVED. Not only has she been hauled into line, she’s unleashed her Planning Minister to tell lies about population growth, and rubbish anyone who dares to challenge it.

    You’d think there might just be a story in that U-turn. Not for the mainstream media, which backs mass migration and high population growth just as fervently as any Albanese or Morrison.

    • This was purely propaganda. A bit like saying as a politician you are not a climate change denier then do the exact opposite to what scientist want to combat it. It was just empty words as Glady knows she has no control over immigration as a state premier. Gladys was placed in as premier by the banks themselves she wants mass immigration to explode not slow.

  3. Rob Stokes should represent them and lobby the federal government to slash immigration
    Ha ha ha that’s funny, Rob Stokes representing the interests of anyone apart from Rob Stokes Yeah like I said that’s hilarious. As for doing anything to reduce RE demand, well to paraphrase Upton Sinclair
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    • Represent constituents? eh… I thought political parties were meant to represent the needs of business in the neoliberal era, then the constituents are all looked after by some invisible economic force.

  4. What happens in Perth is the old rich, christian, inner city or beach suburbs remain leafy and untouched. While these older, LNP voting, botox lips, mercedes driving snobs get rich off the population boom they do not allow any subdivided blocks for townhouses or any large apartments in “their” suburbs while the rest of us get screwed with tiny 250m/ 300m blocks, towers and subdivision creating overpopulation in the suburbs which do not have enough parks etc. These leafy Suburbs have beautiful parks, beaches and recreation while the outer suburbs the crime is so bad due to disaffected Aussies (Unwashed trash), the police cannot keep up and won’t investigate anything below a stabbing.

      • Rich4, the general population have no idea what is going on in the world as they watch and listen to the news. Enough said!

    • ..and they have the money to buy more consumption related shares thereby getting richer in the process. They get the money but not the newly arrived neighbours.

  5. He should have a word with his hypocritical mate the Member for Banks David Coleman who opposes their 6,000+ new homes at Riverwood NSW but loves the excess immigration, so many photo ops and votes ya know in Hurstville.



    David is continuing to oppose the Development of Riverwood drafted by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, and discussing the concerns of residents on this important issue.

    The Department’s Riverwood Plan will see around 6,000 apartments built in tower blocks up to 20 storeys high, a huge increase in scale. Currently, there are around 1,000 apartments in the same area.

    This population increase and the extreme density of housing will permanently change Riverwood and surrounding areas.

    “I am strongly opposed to this Plan, which would change the character of Riverwood,” David said. “Many residents continue to raise their strong concerns with me on this matter.”

    “I have previously held a community meeting about the issue, and I will continue to express residents’ opposition to this Plan with the State Government,” David said.

    “I will be sure to keep the community updated on this matter,” David said.

    Though this is recent, maybe a way to allow him not to loose votes?

    “Riverwood Estate
    Riverwood Estate is close to Riverwood station, with access to the Sydney CBD and the airport. It currently has 994 social housing dwellings on over 30 hectares of government-owned land.

    Precincts – a new approach
    The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces has recently announced a new approach to precinct planning in NSW. This will mean a change of approach to planning for Riverwood Estate.
    In collaboration with Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC), City of Canterbury Bankstown l will now take the lead in planning for Riverwood Estate with the support of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

    The Department will continue to support LAHC to achieve the NSW Government’s vision for revitalised social housing within Riverwood Estate. While the proposed rezoning will be led by City of Canterbury Bankstown, the Department will work closely with Council and LAHC to ensure State government priorities are delivered.”

    • Coleman held a rally in Padstow, which is a suburb adjaent to Riverwood. He even had placards made for us emblazoned ‘Stop the Padstow Plan’ . When I pointed out that his government was causing this by way of mass immigration he stated ‘it’s not related’, and ‘not that much at only 1% pa’!

  6. The BystanderMEMBER

    Well given the States can do bugger all to control population, and don’t have much by way of trump cards to use against the feds, Stokes isn’t completely wrong in his comments. That doesn’t mean that he needs to help the federal government polish the turd that is poorly managed, short-term economic policy

    • There’s plenty state government can do.

      How about $100k school fees for non residents?

      Ten times water, electricity and gas tax rates?

      • Gladys put in a land tax on foreigners.

        She can probably also charge them $40 a day for a train ticket.

  7. Even StevenMEMBER

    UE – I hope you sent a copy of this to Rob Stokes’ inbox. I would but the nausea I feel when I think about his comments makes it virtually impossible.

  8. Jumping jack flash

    “Rather than attacking his own constituents, Rob Stokes should represent them and lobby the federal government to slash immigration”

    pfft. He can lobby all he likes but the immigration serves a higher purpose. The growing population enables the growth of debt which is the sole driver of the new economy.

    “Conceding that the city is spreading too far too fast… “You can’t stop it, so the best thing you can do is work together””

    Throwing his hands up he wails, pitifully, “there’s nothing we can dooooo”. The horde rolls on.