Councils warn NSW housing plans will kill the family home

Sydney Mayor Frank Carbone says the NSW government’s push for greater housing density will spell the end of hills hoists and backyard cricket.

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
4 Min Read

Sydney Mayor Frank Carbone says the NSW government’s push for greater housing density will spell the end of hills hoists and backyard cricket.

Weeks before Christmas, the Minns government announced a major planning overhaul for NSW, including the construction of 40 transport hubs proposed to cater to 210,000 new dwellings across greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

But in an effort to ease the state’s housing crisis, the plan also saw dual occupancies, such as duplexes, automatically approved in all low-density residential areas – a decision that had left local councils up in arms. 

In an interview on Sydney radio station 2GB, Carbone claimed the shift toward high-density living would “bring the end to the family home”.

“It’s the end of the backyard. You won’t be able to put a Hills Hoist in the backyard; you certainly won’t be able to play backyard cricket,” he told Ben Fordham Live on Wednesday morning.

“Let’s not kill off our backyard. They’re gonna turn western Sydney into Kolkata: overpopulated, no transport links.”

The Minns government claims the high-density changes would deliver about 112,000 homes, but documents from the Department of Planning have found that less than 10 per cent will be built within the next five years. 

Carbone said that the government should instead be targeting rising immigration rates as the cause of the crisis, alongside the $12,000 developer tax on every new home build.  

Responding to the interview, Premier Chris Minns said Carbone was “hyperventilating”, adding the criticisms were “not based in reality” and “clearly ridiculous”.

However, more local council members have since echoed Carbone’s concerns. Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Bilal El-Hayek said he will fight “tooth and nail” to ensure the ‘haphazard’ planning reforms deliver quality housing for his City without affecting the quality of life.

“These are generational changes which will impact our children into the future, and we must get it right,” he said in a statement. 

“In R2 zones, which covers most properties, duplexes will be permissible on blocks with a minimum of 12 metre frontages. Streets will be congested, with little or no parking and limited accessibility. 

“Our streets will be turned into rabbit warrens, bottlenecks and frustrated drivers.”

Mayor El-Hayek added there had been little or no community consultation or engagement around implementing the reforms.

“We are expected to house more than 300,000 people but there is a deafening silence when it comes to how many schools, preschools, day care centres which will be needed. There is no mention of road improvements, or infrastructure to deal with our already congested roads.”

Opposition planning Minister Scott Farlow said the ambitious measures “must be done right and in consultation with local communities”.

“Councils from across Sydney have been frustrated by a lack of detail, which has led to fanciful one month turnaround times over Christmas for desperately needed feedback,” he said.

“Mayors are making clear that having all the required rezonings gazetted by 1 April is unrealistic and cannot happen. 

“A lack of consultation will end in homes simply not being built and the housing crisis getting worse. That cannot be allowed to occur.”

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.