Property Council of Australia: Young People in Property

(6.30pm, Thursday 6 June 2013, Establishment, Level 2 Ballroom, George Street)

Thank you, Rick, [Alloggia] and Glen [Byres] I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

We're at a critical moment in Sydney's history: facing tremendous challenges of accommodating ever-more residents and workers - an extra million people by 2036 - while keeping the City sustainable in the face of climate change and diminished resources. Of protecting our heritage and amenity while creating fantastic new developments. Of getting our transport mix right while providing the services and amenities people expect of a global city.

We have to get these things right because Australia's prosperity depends on Sydney. The city contributes around $100 billion to the national economy, so in dollar terms it's up there with the mining industry - and it's rather more sustainable!

So the need for leadership has never been greater. Leadership that has a holistic vision for the City, that plans for long-term results, that drives a sustainable future for Sydney and works towards a robust economy, a lively and engaging city culture, and an equitable society.

Traditionally, Sydney has had a history of ad hoc interventions rather than considered long-term planning. I wanted to change that when I became Lord Mayor in 2004. I wanted a long-term vision and plan for our City. We consulted widely and, the result was Sustainable Sydney 2030, a plan which has won broad acceptance.

It's a vision we are now implementing, working with all our stakeholders - government, industry, property owners and developers, residents and business leaders - to achieve our goals of an environmentally, economic, cultural and socially sustainable city.

We began with our own operations, to provide a model of the sort of governance Sydney needs, to build ourselves as the sort of organisation where the top talent wants to work - a transparent organisation, dedicated to getting outcomes, and with the capacity and will to implement change.

Environmental Sustainability

This has enabled us to make all our own operations more sustainable (through rain water harvesting, building retrofits and energy-efficient LED street lighting); to design and deliver public facilities (parks, libraries etc) that win national and international awards; to transform our unique City villages and inner-city laneways.

It's taken perseverance and persistence. We've only recently won the Government's commitment to light-rail for George Street - some six years after Jan Gehl's report for us. But it is going ahead, and it will transform not just George Street but our whole CBD

Cultural / Social Sustainability

We've got the small bars and activated laneways happening to kick-start a more diverse and interesting late-night economy; creative start-ups in City properties and a new Creative Cultural City policy in development; and we run or actively support a year-round program of events and festivals, from Sydney New Year's Eve to Chinese New Year to the Writers' Festival (Film Festival), to name just a few.

Economic sustainability - Provision of Housing for the increased Population

At the same time, we are planning for Sydney's future and that of the million extra people who will be here in 2036.

The City is carrying out the Central Sydney Planning Review to ensure we have the development capacity and the quality of development to support Sydney as a global city to 2031 and we are doing this in response to the Government's strategic planning aims and Property Council concerns. We're consulting with the industry, including the PCA and aim to report by the end of the year.

As Sydney is Australia's premier destination city and international gateway. We are working with industry to encourage hotel development and this work will be coordinated with the Central Sydney Planning Review to be completed by early to mid-2014.

We are committed to keeping our City villages - one of Sydney's great assets - while fostering quality new developments on former industrial sites like Green Square, Harold Park, the Ashmore estate, Barangaroo and CUB at Broadway.

At Harold Park, we've worked with the community and Mirvac to an excellent outcome with 1,250 units and almost four hectares of public park and about 50 affordable housing units to help keep essential workers in the city.

We've developed productive working relationships on a number of projects such as AMP's Circular Quay site, where we are working to allow floor space to be redistributed across the precinct, while maintaining the existing FSR.

At the Goldfields House end of the Quay, we've developed controls to co-ordinate the redevelopment of the Alfred, Pitt, George and Dalley Streets block to allow higher buildings in exchange for a public square connected by a series of laneways.

Since Barangaroo was excised from the City in 2003, we can only indirectly affect the outcomes there though we are continuing to take part in various planning groups to optimise the development and we also meet monthly with Lend Lease to have early input into the design.

And while we support new exhibition and convention space for Sydney, the State Government again took control of the Darling Harbour development, and we need to argue the case through submissions, rather than having direct planning authority over quality public domain and integration with the city.

In areas we can control, we have the City's largest ever infrastructure budget, $1.9 billion for a 10-year program including $400 million for Green Square - Australia's largest urban development; $200 million for improve George Street and its laneways as our contribution to the light-rail transformation; $180 million for better footpaths and roads; $100 million to improve parks and $56 million for six new child-care centres, essential for our residents and workers.

We want: to protect existing assets, renew and intensify development on former industrial sites, work with developers to produce high-quality, sustainable projects, and together create a city for today and the future that is prosperous, diverse, and lively, a place people want to live, work and visit. The sort of place you would want to live, work and visit.