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Saving Sydney

Statement by Mark Latham, NSW One Nation Leader

14 November 2018

Today I have released a comprehensive policy program for


Sydney’s future.

Currently the city is choking under immigration-fuelled


population increases of 100,000 per annum, with huge costs
to commuters, families, businesses and economic efficiency.

Labor, Liberal, Nationals and the Greens have supported Big


Australia immigration numbers that have made Sydney
dysfunctional, also adding to housing affordability pressures,
sluggish wages growth (having flooded the labour market)
and the problem of temporary overseas workers taking
Australian jobs.

Sydney is bursting at the seams, with apartment towers and


over-development in existing suburbs and unsustainable
urban sprawl on the city’s fringe.

The promise of ‘better planning’ and ‘improved


infrastructure’ to deal with Sydney’s population explosion is
a myth – in effect, political spin to get the major parties
through the next election.

No State Government, even if it had unlimited resources, can


cope with the extraordinary scale of population growth and
development pressures.

Only Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has a serious plan for


Sydney’s future.

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We are giving Sydney-siders a rare opportunity, a chance to
send the major parties a message at back-to-back State and
Federal elections in the next 6 months.

Let’s save Sydney from suffocating over-population and


over-development.

One Nation, working together as a Federal/State team, has


an eight-policy approach to restoring Sydney’s future as a
liveable city:

1. Australia does not owe the rest of the world anything


in terms of access across our borders. Our immigration
program must be framed in the interest of the people
who live here now. This is especially true of policies
impacting on an over-crowded, increasingly
dysfunctional city like Sydney.
2. Permanent immigration numbers should be slashed,
bringing them closer to their 20th Century average of
70,000 per annum (down from 190,000 currently).
Temporary visas must also be cut back. This would give
Sydney a much-needed break from excessive growth
and congestion, allowing jobs, services and
infrastructure provision to catch up.
3. NSW should not take any more special refugee intakes,
given the mismanagement of Syrian refugee settlement
by the Baird Government.
4. Sydney’s planning laws must be overhauled to make
the city more efficient and sustainable. An urban
containment strategy is needed. For existing suburbs,
One Nation supports development and density
restrictions in under-serviced, over-crowded LGAs. The
Government should publish a comprehensive report
identifying these suburbs (most likely, most of the city).
5. The release of greenfields residential land also needs to
be limited to prevent further urban sprawl. Priority
should be given to the development of employment

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land in Sydney to reduce commuter-travelling times,
especially in the city’s outer suburbs.
6. The Greater Sydney Commission should be disbanded
(at an annual cost saving of $18 million) as it has
become a mouthpiece for Big Australia immigration
and unlimited population growth in Sydney. Political
appointments and unrealistic planning strategies have
dominated the Commission’s work.
7. The Greater Sydney Commission’s excessive housing
and population growth targets should also be
abandoned. NSW Planning should be given the task of
containing the city’s growth to reasonable lifestyle,
infrastructure and environmental limits. Local
Councils, as the level of government closest to the
people, also have a critical role to play in limiting
densities and development in line with local
infrastructure/service capacity. One Nation respects
this vital local government urban planning role.
8. The State Government should scale back the
responsibilities of the so-called Western Sydney
Aerotropolis to focus on employment creation in the
immediate vicinity of the new Badgerys Creek Airport,
rather than land acquisition and development for
residential purposes. In the fair treatment of existing
property rights, affected landowners should be bought
out at enhanced (rezoned) land values, rather than
current unimproved rates.

The full NSW One Nation policy document is available on our


website: nsw.onenation.org.au

Contact: Corrine Barraclough 0435346822

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Saving Sydney

Rapid population growth fuelled by big immigration


numbers has made Sydney an increasingly congested and
dysfunctional city. This is not the fault of the migrants
themselves, but of political elites who have lost sight of the
importance of sound population policy, urban planning and
service provision.

One Nation strongly supports migrant communities that


have come to Australia with a strong work ethic, wanting to
embrace Australian values. We acknowledge the success of
European and Asian migrants in particular in building a
stronger State and country.

Australia’s immigration program should not discriminate


against potential migrants on racial or religious grounds.
This is One Nation policy. Yet we also recognise the need for
migrant selection criteria consistent with Australia’s
national interest. That is, new arrivals must be of good
character (posing no national security or crime risk) and
capable of integrating into Australian society by embracing
the Australian way of life.

The main problem with Australia’s immigration program is


its size. A majority of new arrivals settle in either Sydney or
Melbourne, meaning that national policy needs to have
strong regard for its urban consequences. A 2018 Federal
Government report concluded, “In parts of Sydney, such as
Ryde, Parramatta, the Inner-West, North Sydney, Hornsby
and the Eastern Suburbs, migrants accounted for more than
70 per cent of the increase in population (between 1996 and
2016).”

Yet still, the growth continues unchecked. The Greater


Sydney Commission has projected Sydney will need to
accommodate another 1.8 million people over the next 18

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years, that is, 100,000 per annum (on top of its existing
population of 5.1 million). In April 2017, the Federal
Government forecast that Western Sydney’s population of
two million people would grow by another million in the
next 20 years, primarily through the new metropolis being
constructed between Penrith and Camden.

Growth of this kind is simply unsustainable. The city is


already choking on congestion. Ask any Sydney commuter or
young family trying to get its children to and from school
and sports training. Visit the schools that have as many
demountable classrooms as permanent ones, and hospitals
with crowded waiting rooms. Sydney is over-crowded and
increasingly dysfunctional.

New suburbs are springing out of the ground on the city’s


fringe, adding to urban sprawl. Established communities are
being subjected to huge population increases through rapid
changes in density and apartment tower construction,
without any offsetting improvement in local infrastructure
and services. While Sydney has been in the eye of the
population storm, these pressures are also being felt on the
Central Coast and in the Hunter and Illawarra regions.

The Better Planning Myth

The promise of ‘better planning’ has been a hoax on the


people of Sydney. In August 2018 Australia reached 25
million people, 24 years sooner than the Federal
Government had projected in 2002. Governments and
bureaucrats are now scrambling to provide for the services
and transport links they didn’t think were necessary until
decades from now.

Given that major infrastructure projects have a long lead-


time, the planning task is impossible. No government can
keep up with the extraordinary rate of population growth

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and congestion. The promise of an infrastructure miracle is a
mirage. The current government can’t even build something
as simple as light-rail in George Street, Sydney, without
major delays and complications.

The Greater Sydney Commission epitomises this delusional


approach. Its head, Lucy Turnbull, has said that Sydney is
“far from full” and can take many more migrants. Even with
huge increases in population, she thinks we can become a
“30-minute city” whereby everyone is half-an-hour away
“from either work, school, university or whatever they like
to get up to.” In reality, the average Sydneysider would need
to borrow the Turnbulls’ helicopter to achieve this objective.

Containing Sydney’s Growth

The only answer is for Sydney to take a break from


population growth. The major parties have acknowledged
the problem but don’t know what to do about it, given their
attachment to big immigration numbers. In 2000 the Labor
Premier Bob Carr said that Sydney was full. In August 2018
the (now) NSW Labor Leader, Michael Daley, said that life in
Sydney was becoming “manifestly unpleasant” due to
excessive growth.

That same month, Premier Berejiklian conceded that some


parts of Sydney “cannot handle extra development” but
refused to say which areas she was talking about (a stunning
lack of frankness and honesty). Ms Berejiklian has been a
lifelong supporter of Big Australia immigration policies and
anything she says to the contrary (in the shadows of an
election campaign) cannot be taken seriously.

The Liberals are all over the shop in knowing what to do


about Sydney’s future. Their only strategy is to do what’s
politically convenient. In September 2018 the Planning
Minister Anthony Roberts told a public forum on Sydney’s

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growth that, “overdevelopment does not exist” – not only
contradicting the Premier but his own actions in the Liberal-
held seat of Ryde.

In May 2018 the Berejiklian Government placed restrictions


on residential growth in the Ryde Council area. New
residential rezoning applications were frozen for two years.
The LGA’s medium density code was also suspended. Why
doesn’t this intervention apply to the rest of Sydney: for
every other suburb experiencing over-development and
infrastructure shortages?

NSW One Nation supports a growth containment strategy


for Sydney. All over-developed suburbs should have
planning and density restrictions placed on them, not just
Ryde. The Government should publish a comprehensive
report on the areas suffering from over-development – the
suburbs Berejiklian refuses to name.

Greenfields residential land releases should also be limited


to avoid further urban sprawl and congestion. Hemmed in
by national parks to the north and south and the Blue
Mountains to the west, Sydney has natural barriers to its
growth that must be acknowledged in State Government
planning strategies.

In their PR-spin, both NSW Labor and Liberal say they want
to be consulted by the Federal Government about the size of
the immigration program. In fact, there has been a
consultative mechanism in place, for the skilled migration
intake, and successive NSW Governments have argued for
big numbers. It has been an easy way of increasing their
property-related budget revenue – a milch cow.

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Western Sydney Aerotropolis

If the Coalition and Labor were serious about containing


Sydney’s growth they would not be proceeding with the so-
called Western Sydney Aerotropolis in its current form. The
Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, has said, “The State
Government is laying the foundations for the development of
a new city around the (Badgerys Creek) airport that, when
completed, will be larger than Adelaide.” Adelaide has a
population of 1.3 million people.

For the people of Western Sydney, the new airport has held
out the promise of local job creation, helping to cut down on
commuter travelling times in and out of the region. This
should be the Government’s focus, rather than using the
airport development as another excuse for residential
growth and urban sprawl. Airport-related jobs should be for
existing Western Sydney residents, not soaked up by further
rapid population growth.

The Aerotropolis has drawn up plans for massive residential


releases. Earlier in 2018, the Minister said this land will be
acquired at current values, prior to residential zonings from
which the government will then profit. This is contrary to
long-established zoning practices, unfairly jeopardising the
interests of existing landowners and their legitimate
property rights.

One Nation opposes this ham-fisted approach and the


grandiose way in which the Aerotropolis and its powers
have been conceived. Land acquisition is only appropriate in
the immediate vicinity of the airport, creating employment
through tourism, commercial, industrial, educational and
airport-related development. Residential development
should be limited and guided by standard planning and
zoning laws. As a question of fairness, market-based values
and processes must be available to landowners.

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Refugee Settlement Failure

The Liberal-National Government has also mismanaged the


settlement of refuges in Sydney. In 2015, it eagerly accepted
a special intake of 7000 Syrian refugees into the State.
Premier Baird went to the trouble of appointing Peter
Shergold, formerly head of the Prime Minister’s Department,
to be the Coordinator-General for Refugee Settlement.

Shergold said the new arrivals would live in places like Coffs
Harbour, Albury and Wagga. Yet over 6000 of the 7000
Syrians went to one local government area: Fairfield in
Western Sydney, with all the problems of integration and
service delivery. Fairfield has the highest unemployment
rate in Sydney.

The Baird/Shergold policy has been an urban planning


disaster, demonstrating how NSW should not be party to any
future special refugee intakes. It also highlights the myth of
governments moving new arrivals to regional areas.
Politicians make this promise knowing it will never happen,
that migrant families are inevitably drawn into the big cities.

Following his failure on refugee settlement, in October 2018


Ms Berejiklian appointed Shergold to her new committee
dealing with immigration numbers and Sydney’s growth.
This is the problem with the Coalition Government: it
rewards failure with promotions to even more senior
positions, certain to once again mismanage Sydney’s future.

Policy Solutions

No aspect of the current immigration policy is working for


the benefit of Australians who live here now. The Federal
Government must listen to Senator Pauline Hanson, who has
been a strong voice for overhauling the program, cutting its

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numbers and easing the pressure on our cities. Reduced
immigration would also help to solve the housing
affordability crisis, assist wages growth (by no longer
flooding the labour market) and make more jobs available
for Australian residents.

Throughout 2018/19 the electorate has a unique


opportunity to send a powerful message about Sydney’s
future. A March State election, followed by a Federal poll
(most likely in May) offers a chance to change policy
direction. Electing One Nation State and Federal MPs means
that immigration numbers can be cut and suburban over-
development and sprawl can be avoided.

One Nation, working together as a Federal/State team,


has an eight-policy approach to restoring Sydney’s
future prospects as a liveable city:

1. Australia does not owe the rest of the world


anything in terms of access across our borders.
Our immigration program must be framed in the
interest of the people who live here now. This is
especially true of policies impacting on an over-
crowded, increasingly dysfunctional city like
Sydney.
2. Permanent immigration numbers should be
slashed, bringing them closer to their 20th
Century average of 70,000 per annum (down
from 190,000 currently). Temporary visas must
also be cut back. This would give Sydney a much-
needed break from excessive growth and
congestion, allowing jobs, services and
infrastructure provision to catch up.
3. NSW should not take any more special refugee
intakes, given the mismanagement of Syrian
refugee settlement by the Baird Government.

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4. Sydney’s planning laws must be overhauled to
make the city more efficient and sustainable. An
urban containment strategy is needed. For
existing suburbs, One Nation supports
development and density restrictions in under-
serviced, over-crowded LGAs. The Government
should publish a comprehensive report
identifying these suburbs (most likely, most of
the city).
5. The release of greenfields residential land also
needs to be limited to prevent further urban
sprawl. Priority should be given to the
development of employment land in Sydney to
reduce commuter-travelling times, especially in
the city’s outer suburbs.
6. The Greater Sydney Commission should be
disbanded (at an annual cost saving of $18
million) as it has become a mouthpiece for Big
Australia immigration and unlimited population
growth in Sydney. Political appointments and
unrealistic planning strategies have dominated
the Commission’s work.
7. The Greater Sydney Commission’s excessive
housing and population growth targets should
also be abandoned. NSW Planning should be
given the task of containing the city’s growth to
reasonable lifestyle, infrastructure and
environmental limits. Local Councils, as the level
of government closest to the people, also have a
critical role to play in limiting densities and
development in line with local
infrastructure/service capacity. One Nation
respects this vital local government urban
planning role.
8. The State Government should scale back the
responsibilities of the so-called Western Sydney
Aerotropolis to focus on employment creation in

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the immediate vicinity of the new Badgerys
Creek Airport, rather than land acquisition and
development for residential purposes. In the fair
treatment of existing property rights, affected
landowners should be bought out at enhanced
(rezoned) land values, rather than current
unimproved rates.

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