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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release April 2004

Land Release - Alan Jones

Hi SOS Members

Unlike many media personalities, Alan Jones of Radio 2GB does read his emails. Here is an email I sent on 30 March 2004, followed by his reply:


Hi Alan

I was most interested in what you said on the subject of land release at about 6.10 am today and frequently tried to get through on your open line but this proved just too busy.

BACKGROUND

The report of the Productivity Commission into housing affordability (Dec 2003) confirms your quotation from the Sydney Morning Herald Editorial that "Land Releases around Sydney for the past 20 years have been a disgrace". The Commission reports "From the late 1970s up until early 1990s, more than 40 per cent of the additions to dwelling stock each year in metropolitan Sydney were located in new greenfield areas. That share has dropped significantly since 1993-94 to an average of 28 per cent for the period 1996 to 2001. It is projected to fall further to 25 per cent over the next five years"

This was deliberately done as part of the State Government's Urban Consolidation policy.

Retrofitting more people into existing suburbs originally designed for lower densities has resulted in the breakdown of infrastructure that you have been asserting. Agitation by Save Our Suburbs and other resident action groups as well as remarks by you over the last four years produced a change. Public opinion has begun to oppose urban consolidation. The head of the then Department of Planning was sacked. On 17 November 2003 in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Planning Minister Craig Knowles admitted this urban consolidation path is causing community anger. He indicated the Carr Government will pursue a new "balance" of development in future. "Sydney has been on a consolidation path .............. but there's plenty of evidence that levels of resistance are now very high and they don't want any more."

This policy reversal has led to the planned release of residential lots in the West that you referred to.

WHAT I WISHED TO SAY TO YOU:

Cramming more people into the West will still result in problems relating to pollution and to fitting such developments into existing infrastructure. Other countries of the world do not just rely on one capital city. We need balanced development across the State.

Save Our Suburbs maintains that a major feature of this balanced development should be the establishment of new satellite cities adjacent to Sydney. These satellite cities could perhaps be placed on the road to Goulburn and incorporate desirable features such as green belts, underground electrical cabling, energy-efficient buildings, drought-resistant plants and water reuse downstream. They should be of optimal size (with about 200,000 residents each). They should have street layouts designed to maximise access by walking, cycling and public transport. They should be linked up to Sydney by very fast transport and communication facilities. The Commonwealth, as part of comprehensive immigration policies, should facilitate such development by providing funds to cater for part of the necessary infrastructure and employment. It should offer workable incentives such as income tax concessions for those who set up a business or work in these new areas.

New South Wales needs courage and vision for its future planning.

Tony Recsei
(President Save Our Suburbs)


Alan replied on 6 April 2004:

Dear Tony,

You make a lot of sense. However, don’t expect government to run with the ball. Tax incentives and infrastructure improvements are too big an ask for the people in Macquarie Street!

We do need incentives to develop the rest of the state. Many country centres are dying and nobody does nothing about it.

Keep up the good work. Perhaps give me a call sometimes on 131873 and share your thoughts with my listeners.


With best wishes,

Alan Jones


Of course it is very difficult to get through to the talk-back radio studios. However the more tries we make, the better success we have. If more SOS members try to phone in on topics of this nature, we have a better chance of our voice being heard. Please phone in on 131873 in the early mornings and express your opinion on overdevelopment.

Tony Recsei
President
Save Our Suburbs (SOS)


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