A Future Greater Sydney – opportunities of an expanding rail network

According to a report released last week, Sydney’s rail infrastructure boom has the potential to address the city’s greatest challenge, delivering nearly half the housing needed over the next 20 years. Shelter NSW staff were happy to attend the launch of the Committee for Sydney’s new report ‘Rethinking Station Precincts‘, a report that draws on land use, urban design and economic analysis, proposing how to deliver up to 45% of Sydney’s future growth in walking distance of rail stations (327,000 dwellings).

As John Engeler, Shelter NSW CEO, noted in a supporting statement,“…this report includes key recommendations about how more affordable housing can be delivered in walking distance of key transport hubs… of great benefit to the growing number of key workers on lower incomes who rent but currently have to travel long distances – often out of regular work hours – to their places of employment. These key or ‘essential-workers’ are the ones who kept us safe, fed and watered during Covid-19. They are the child care, retail, education and health care workers that are vital to the city’s ongoing success

The report highlights the need for early collaboration with the development industry to ensure awareness of the contributions schemes that would be required to deliver high quality projects, including more diverse dwelling types, including family-friendly apartments, that are both accessible and flexible. 

27,000 new dwellings in Parramatta – how many will be affordable?

Hot on the heels of the Committee for Sydney’s report, we noted with great interest yesterday’s announcement of the state government’s approval of plans to enable 70-storey towers to be built across an expanded Parramatta CBD. The plan could see as many as 27,000 new homes within the CBD and along Parramatta Road. We read the by-line of this Sydney Morning Herald article – ‘Completely transform skyline’: Parramatta plan approved after nine years’ – and wondered whether there would be anything in the plans that would ‘transform’ the housing affordability equation. The article makes no mention whatsoever of housing affordability (by the Mayor or the Minister) so we hope there will be something in the fine print! We know that general ‘housing supply’ can’t of itself, be assured to deliver enough housing that is affordable to lower-income households.

Parramatta City Council’s original concept design for the CBD, which will need to be revised following state government approval.

We support the development of a vibrant Parramatta but strongly encourage the City of Parramatta and the NSW State Government to take immediate steps to ensure substantial numbers of social and affordable rental dwellings are assured to come from this large new stock.

For John’s full statement: Rail boom offers solution to Sydney’s housing crisis – CFS

Listen to Gabriel Metcalf, CEO, Committee for Sydney (report co-author) interviewed on ABC radio: How the rail boom can save the housing crisis – Breakfast – ABC Radio