I gave this presentation on the 7/2/19 at Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club.I am not presently planning to stand for the next NSW State election, butI do hope that I can nevertheless make a worthwhile contribution. If anyonewants to support me standing as an independent, let me know!
While development is much more a local government and state issue ratherthan a Federal Government issue, this presentation illustrates my view ofthe problem - informed by the nuanced economic viewpoint developed bythe Pirate Party, though the Party does not necessarily have detailedpolicies in these areas.
My name is John August. I'm going to talk about problems I see in theRyde area, though many of them also occur all over Sydney.
There's a lot of concern about development. People point to the stressand disruption it causes. Applications claim there will be no impactson neighbours, and those neighbours note in letters to the editor sayingthere are indeed impacts without any clear recourse. It is aconsequence of "Certified Development", with direct control being takenfrom council. In principle, this means that developmentswhich would otherwise be approved merely happen faster, but in factmeans that valid concerns which would be brought up at council can bebypassed, not to mention the sort of false assurances I've alreadymentioned.
It also means that deeper issues can be papered over and ignored. Atthe extreme, we have outcomes like we have seen in the Opal Tower, whereit seems quite apart from residents being steamrolled by the currentframework, developers are steamrollining purchasers.
As I understand it, medium density developments can be done anywhere inthat zoned area, but from the residents point of view, they would expectthe development to be evenly spread without concentrations ofdevelopment and considerations of the cumulative effect of nearbydevelopment. But I can't understand how certified development allowsfor these sort of considerations.
Apart from which, when development is overseen by Council, it is myfeeling that developers ignore the conditions of the DevelopmentApplications and get away with it because there are insufficientresources put into ensuring they are followed.
The question needs to be asked - where are the pressures towardspopulation growth, and also towards the development we see? Thequestion is not whether you are pro or anti development, but ratherasking where these pressures come from, and whether they are beingrecognised. If the pressures are being set by the state or federalgovernment, this should be resentfully recognised on every page, ratherthan being something that is just accepted. Quite apart from thegeneral concerns I have mentioned, recent arrivals to Sydney talk abouthow we are getting more and more competitive with less community feeling- and I feel that development we are experiencing is one pressuretowards this.
We see an infrastructure deficit - where the development comes first,and the infrastructure lags behind. It seems that we have promisesof schools which lag well behind the population increases, when in factthe schools should be built - not talked about - parallel with thedevelopments taking place. It would be interesting to find out how theratio of population to related infrastructure has changed over time -and indeed how it relates to policy changes by government - but the idea that you will somehow solve the question of road congestionwhen you are building developments surrounded by already congested roads - just makes no sense at all.
Priority Precincts, Urban Activation Precincts - or whatever they arecalled now - were set up in the promise that after proper communityconsultation about what the community goals were, the development wouldthen go ahead without problem. The only sensible reply is : "What couldpossibly go wrong?". In any case, they represent a definite source ofdevelopment, population growth, and possible infrastructure deficitsthat needs to be identified. The ability of Ryde council to deal withthe imposts made on it needs to be considered.
Then there are the various large developments that take place, withchanges to the height limits based on so-called voluntary planningagreements. If the height limits can be changed, you wonder - why werethey there in the first place? I have heard other stories about this -that councils have a gun pointed at their head if they refuse, becauseotherwise the developer will challenge their decision at court, and theywill end up even worse than they were to start with. It does have afeeling of the wild west, with the threat of an outcome having almostthe same force as the action itself.
There are claims that development is needed to keep prices down. However,the focus is on new development rather than considering land bankingand otherwise useful land which is not used to live in. It is generally acknowledged that 90% of the investment flowing throughnegative gearing is to make existing property more expensive, notto in any meaningful way increase supply. The urban form we have,apart from other issues, stands in the shadow of a much contestedperverse system of taxes and incentives that hinders rather than helps.
Thank you for the opportunity to address you. Quite apart from anyissues I have brought up, I look forward to finding out detailedstatistics on the area - for example, population to infrastructureratios, amongst others. I think the problems around us are quiteclear - but have extra numbers will certainly also help, and Ilook forward to them being revealed.
I closed with a comment that I was not able to engage Ms. Turnbullface to face, having to focus on reading the presentation because ofthe difficulties in fitting this amount of material into 5 minutes.