A map of the Hawkesbury areas potentially affected by the government's proposed changes to housing.
A map of the Hawkesbury areas potentially affected by the government’s proposed changes to housing.


The NSW Labor government is targeting a range of suburbs for massive new urban growth and unprecedented densification. They’ve announced a proposed policy of massive flat-building to meet a target of 377,000 new homes by 2029.

For those who wonder what the proposed rule changes could look like in the Hawkesbury, check out this map, presented to Councillors at a recent briefing.
We discussed this at Council last night and voted overwhelmingly to oppose this.

Here’s what the changes propose:

Three zones are identified: “Town Centres” (most of our larger suburbs); “Commercial Centres” (Windsor and Richmond), and all train stations (6 in the LGA).

If the new rules pass, Councils would lose the right to refuse new flat developments of up to 21m (up to 8 stories) within 400m of such zones and 16m (5 stories) within 800m. “Cookie cutter” designs from an approved “Pattern book” would enjoy expedited approval, tending to favour bland sameness in designs built to maximise profit.
Some buildings would only mandate 0.5 car spaces per dwelling.

Worst, these rules would summarily override Council’s LEP and DCP controls.

This is spectacularly rotten policy that fails utterly to understand the character of the Hawkesbury. Residents have told us for decades that our semi-rural outlook is a key factor in our charm and desirability as a place to live and work. The State government has failed to provide enough detail for us to respond to their demand for a detailed response. For example, the interaction of the proposed policy with known constraints in our area caused by flood, flood evacuation and fire risk has not been explained at all.

Former Labor Premier Bob Carr famously declared that Sydney was “full” back in 2000. Carr’s successors in the current Labor government manifestly no longer share his assessment. Yes, there is a housing, and housing affordability crisis. But I’d prefer the government was more honest about admitting that fully 98% of the pressure for housing growth in NSW comes from overseas migration and not from the organic growth of our own populace. This is something I will have a lot more to say about soon.

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