Premier Chris Minns has admitted he is on the hook to solve the housing crisis and has put his planning bosses on notice to deliver.
The Premier will name and shame councils that drag their heels on planning approvals and publish a league table to compare housing completions against other states.
“Our departments, our councils, (and) some state MPs are saying ‘No’ too often when it comes to new housing options for Sydney,” he said.
“Every time they say ‘No’ it means that another house will not be built for a young family, or a single person, or a renter in our city.
“That culture has to change,” Mr Minns told 150 business, civic and political leaders at The Daily Telegraph’s 10th Bradfield Oration.
He was responding to a challenge to be as bold as John Bradfield, the engineer who built a 10-lane Harbour Bridge when the motor car was in its infancy and future proofed the city.
The Daily Telegraph editor Ben English welcomed Mr Minns’ declaration of war on the planners after explaining how decades of underbuilding had left Sydney with a housing crisis.
“Bureaucratic barriers need to be swatted aside. That’s a given. The Daily Telegraph has long opposed developmental red tape and will champion any government that meaningfully carves through it,” he said.
Mr Minns said that as Premier he was personally “on the hook” to get developments and completions going in NSW and would be “transparent” about how his government met the challenge. That included a league table of completions against other states.
“The NSW government will publish housing approval times or delays for state significant developments – every single one of them,” he said. “We will also centralise and publish the average number of days it takes for all councils to turn around a development application.”
Mr Minns also unveiled his vision to transform Sydney with an international design competition, similar to the one which delivered the Opera House, to find the perfect Sydney terrace and unit block.
The winning design – potentially by a “budding young architect”– would be included in a “pattern book” of endorsed designs to be fast tracked through the planning system in a bid to build more homes sooner.
“This is your chance to design, not just a single building, but fundamentally change this city – for a young architect it is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.
“We want to see building designs that embrace what we love about Sydney and NSW.”
Buildings with the endorsed designs will be deemed a “complying development,” and will have an accelerated approval pathway – meaning builders can get on site faster, and homes can be built sooner.
Building Commissioner David Chandler said a pattern book of designs could be in place by the end of next year.
Mr Minns delivered his vision in front of former premiers and orators Dominic Perrottet and Mike Baird who both endorsed his plan to slash red tape. Mr Perrottet said the competition and design pattern book was a good idea “just as long as we keep the bureaucrats out of the way.”
Mr Baird said the speech showed how the Bradfield Oration provided the “right impetus” to push the leaders of the city and the state.
“Any city and its leadership needs to be reminded of the opportunities rather than just the challenges. The Bradfield Oration provides a true north of opportunity to our leaders,” he said.
Paul Nicolaou, executive director Business Sydney, said the plan for new terrace housing design was a “huge breakthrough” for the city.
“It will galvanise the city with a positive attitude that this solution to the housing crisis is eminently doable,” he said. “Drawing on a housing solution that was part of Sydney’s earliest days is a masterstroke in making housing affordable for a new generation.”
Business Western Sydney boss David Borger, who is leading the Housing Now alliance, was “stoked” by the announcement.
“Great design should be affordable to mum-and-dad developers.
“A great pattern book design should work whether it’s in Bondi, Blacktown or Bankstown,” he said.
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