Support for Redfern-Waterloo Authority Repeal

(5.54pm 18 October 2011, Parliament House Sydney)

I will make a brief contribution on the Redfern-Waterloo Authority Repeal Bill 2011: a more comprehensive contribution is not possible given the bill was introduced only this afternoon. When the Redfern-Waterloo Authority legislation was introduced in this House I represented Redfern, which was in the electorate of Bligh. Both Redfern and Waterloo are in the City of Sydney local government area. At the time I opposed the legislation because it gave the Minister unfettered power to approve development with the accountability and normal checks and balances that apply with local government assessments removed. The local community was alarmed that the legislation was only about ensuring land development and not about urban renewal or addressing social issues in the Redfern-Waterloo area or The Block. There was widespread concern that the community would have little say in how their neighbourhood was changed.

The City of Sydney has long been committed to working with the State Government to address the urban renewal and social issues in Redfern-Waterloo. I welcome changes this month that handed to the city approvals for developments valued at less than $10 million. This will ensure that the majority of development proposals will be subject to the city's rigorous assessment processes and community consultation. Indeed, all development should be able to be assessed by the city because the Central Sydney Planning Committee deals with development worth over $50 million and has a greater number of State government appointees than it does city appointees. I maintain that developments above $10 million should go to the city instead of the Minister for Planning.

The city's submission to the recent draft Built Environment Plan No. 2 broadly supported the latest proposed rezoning with the recommendation that development only occur if a train station is built in Waterloo, which of course would provide public transport for the proposed increase in population that is possible given the route of the city to the airport railway runs directly underneath. I understand that the Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority will be required to report to the Minister for Planning, who will determine what instrument is the most appropriate for rezoning the area. Plan-making should be done through the comprehensive City Plan process, which will assess the area holistically as part of the entire inner city and with the city consulting closely with the local community. The Central Sydney Planning Committee has the capacity and expertise to establish the most appropriate zoning for the inner city, and creating new bodies to take on this role is wasteful duplication.

I have long opposed areas of the city being excised from the city, the creation of qangos, and the divvying up of the City of Sydney to various bodies, such as the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. There should be an integrated and coordinated approach to the city, and I will make that case to the Minister when the Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority provides a report for Redfern-Waterloo plan making. The city will continue to work with the Minister and the Government on this very important urban renewal area.