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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release March 2006

Well Done!

Hi SOS Members


On the Radio National Counterpoint program on Monday, Michael Duffy read out some of the many responses he received on the previous week's debate between Professors Patrick Troy and Peter Newman. He told listeners more letters and emails were received on this than on practically any other Counterpoint program (which has been running for two years). I understand that 90% favoured Patrick Troy's stand. Congratulations to those whose messages were broadcast and thanks to the many SOS members who contributed. With support such as this, success will build upon success. Very well done indeed.

High-density policies - the ultimate cost

On Monday the Daily Telegraph published this letter:

So Qantas has to move out of Sydney because the price of land is too high to contemplate expansion ("Macbank shops jobs. Airport retail push forces Qantas to axe 480 jobs", Telegraph 10 March). We increasingly hear that it is becoming uneconomic to run a productive business in Sydney. In order to force high density onto communities, Government urban consolidation policy deliberately strangles the land supply. This creates artificial land scarcities, driving land prices into the stratosphere. Jobs vanish. Little wonder then that the New South Wales economy is becoming Australia’s weakest.

Tony Recsei

Frank Sartor - yet more draconian planning legislation and unwanted legacies

Planning Minister Frank Sartor has announced horrifying amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. These changes will allow him to override democratically elected local councils. Without any limit or justification, he will be able to appoint a planning administrator or panel to carry out a Council's planning functions including setting controls and giving consent. The Council then must reimburse the Government for the remuneration, costs and expenses!

This legislation will allow Mr Sartor to control development contributions and determine where Councils spend funds. He will be able to make, amend, or revoke Development Control Plans directly, and will not be subject to regulation, or have to give reasons. Clover Moore comments that the changes remove transparency, a particularly disturbing outcome when the major parties continue to accept developer donations.

It is ironical that when Frank Sartor was Lord Mayor of Sydney he produced a publication called "Unwanted Legacies". In this publication Mr Sartor decried the manner in which the Land and Environment Court (enforcing Department of Planning densification policies) overrides the wishes of the community.

He then said: "The last decade has witnessed increasing and widespread concern about the quality of our built environment. There has been frequent and well-documented dismay, not to mention outrage, from all sectors of society about the quality and appropriateness of a great many new developments...... . A great many people do not realise that if an applicant (developer) proposing a development does not like the decision of their local Council - they can simply go to the Land & Environment Court and the whole development application process starts over again except without public input. .....The Court does not review Council's decisions to ensure their actions were based on adherence to the Council's own policies and regulations." Mr Sartor stressed: "Some of the consequences of the current system include a plethora of buildings that are Court approved yet contravene the published policies of Councils and other consent authorities and buildings and developments which greatly diminish the built environment."

Is the Planning Minister Frank Sartor of 2006 the same man as the Lord Mayor Frank Sartor of 2001? He no longer seems concerned about developments that contravene the wishes of the community. We wonder why.

The fight must go on!

Tony Recsei

President, Save Our Suburbs

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