Opinion piece, published in The Daily Telegraph
Great work is underway across Sydney to turn around the deficit in housing supply.
For a decade to 2014, only half the new homes needed to meet population growth, were being built.
Now the numbers are coming in, showing the imbalance is being addressed, with Western Sydney in particular punching above its weight.
One third of Greater Sydney’s new home approvals in the past year, or 17,000 new homes, have been given the tick by just a dozen councils in Sydney’s West - including some of the smallest councils such as Camden and Wollondilly.*
A mammoth 2,300 new homes were approved in Bringelly/Green Valley over the past year, representing 4.2% of Sydney’s new supply.
3,100 homes were approved in the Liverpool LGA, 2,300 in Penrith, 1,500 in Campbelltown.
The greatest number of house completions across Sydney also occurred in the West.
More than 63 per cent of all detached house completions in Sydney in the past year occurred in Blacktown, Camden, Liverpool and the Hills Shire areas (NSW Dept of Planning).
What is now critical, is that this housing growth is supported with infrastructure and services.
Western Sydney is one of the fastest growing regions in the state, and this growth is motivating huge investments in its rapidly growing economy.
Based on current trends, over half of Sydney’s population will live west of Parramatta by 2036.
Soon Western Sydney will be a major city in its own right.
But failing to deliver well connected homes in the West, will simply rob future generations of home ownership.
In well-functioning markets, when prices rise, supply increases and prices level out.
When this fails to occur, governments need to identify and remove supply blockages.
The Property Council suggests that 30% of a new house and land package can be chalked up to planning regulations, including red tape that holds back housing supply.
In simple terms, excessive red tape is a massive tax on every house, and every house buyer.
If we want to improve housing affordability, we need to strip back restrictions on supply.
The NSW Government understands this imperative, and has committed to housing initiatives in its recent Budget that emphasise better connections between where people live, work and play.
Action needs to continue across all three levels of government.
In Western Sydney, a coordinated response will be rolled out through the Western Sydney City Deal.
The Western Sydney City Deal is a partnership not only between the Federal and New South Wales governments, it involves no less than eight local governments across the West and South West districts of Sydney.
A top priority for the City Deal will be the delivery of housing in the right locations – close to jobs, transport and services.
A dedicated Western Sydney Housing Package, announced in the Federal Budget, will spur planning reform by bringing forward local and state government action.
Funding will be tied to improvements, such as rezoning land for higher density around railway stations or job centres, and better pathways for private investment in local infrastructure.
This package has been designed to work alongside the Turnbull Government's $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility, established to meet the up-front costs of critical local infrastructure needed to unlock housing supply.
The Treasurer and I launched both of these initiatives at Macarthur Station just a few weeks ago and we think there are real opportunities right across Western Sydney.
The emergence of a Western City, catalysed by Western Sydney Airport, is a once in a generation window for the West to become a global economic powerhouse.
Since coming to government in 2013, the Federal Coalition has invested over $12 billion in transport infrastructure in and around Western Sydney, connecting communities long neglected and supporting the emergence of the Western Sydney city.
The magnitude of this investment reflects the scale of growth ahead.
The Western Sydney City Deal will coordinate action and investment across all levels of government to support this growth.
Delivering the jobs, houses and transport connections needed in Western Sydney tomorrow, will only be possible if we plan and invest today.
* (Housing Industry Association new home approvals to April 2017)