Hills Mayor Peter Gangemi is urging the State Government to work with local councils to deliver more housing rather than use “a one-size-fits-all approach” that he says could make the housing crisis even worse.
He says The Hills Shire Council has one of the strongest track records of any council in Sydney on housing.
“In the 22/23 Financial Year, more than 1500 development applications were determined in The Hills, which is more than any other metropolitan council in the state,” he said.
“The more than 13,000 homes expected in The Hills Shire LGA over the next five years are second only to Blacktown Council.
“The Hills is one of the few metropolitan councils meeting our housing targets, so we come to the table as a major contributor looking to find the best solutions for our communities.”
He said councils were willing to work with the NSW Government on more nuanced approaches, rather than cookie-cutter planning rules across the entire metropolitan area.
“Councils I have spoken to are prepared to do even more when it comes to housing if there is additional investment in infrastructure to match the increase in population.
“Each area has its unique challenges that have been considered in planning processes such as the Local Strategic Planning Statement, Local Environmental Plan and Precinct Plans. A one-size-fits-all approach is inferior planning and will lead to inferior results.”
“There is already enough land zoned to accommodate an extra 100,000 people in the Hills by 2036 In the last ten years only 19,000 dwellings have been built in The Hills against 30,000 consents, so blaming councils and fashioning a greater number of approvals is not the magic answer to the housing crisis.”
Hills Shire Council has already stated its opposition to State Government changes to housing density levels, particularly near the Showground Station where the cap on the number of dwellings of 5,000 was scrapped by the Government earlier this year.
Council is furious that doubling the number of dwellings in the area without provision for a new high school or primary school or the necessary infrastructure to cater for the influx of new families would not reduce the housing crisis but lead to something worse.
Mayor Gangemi said the Government can work with councils on a number of key moves to deliver more housing in Sydney.
“The Government can do its part in the housing crisis by fast tracking the construction of homes on Landcom sites, funding key infrastructure projects to unlock housing and restoring confidence in the apartment sector.
“We want to work with the Minns Government. We think there are big opportunities for more housing in The Hills Shire and right across Western Sydney.
“We look forward to reviewing the details of draft policies when they are made public by the Government next week and productive discussions around how we can accommodate appropriate density and uplift in the right locations where they will be serviced by infrastructure.”