Housing Supply

04 June 2024

I move:

That this house:

(1)Notes that there is a housing crisis in New South Wales.

(2)Notes that the New South Wales Government has taken action by announcing fairer housing targets with incentives for councils to build better communities for New South Wales.

(3)Notes the New South Wales Government is rebalancing housing growth across the State with a focus on well‑located homes close to transport, jobs and existing infrastructure.

We know, and we have heard from members across the Chamber, that housing is a pressing issue in New South Wales. That is especially true in my part of the world in Leppington and south‑western Sydney. For decades south‑western Sydney has faced the brunt of urban sprawl in this great city of ours, but sadly the infrastructure has not kept pace. It has lagged behind. We have taken our fair share of housing but, primarily due to 12 years of neglect when members opposite were in government, we did not get our fair share of infrastructure.

Statistics show that there has been an extraordinary surge in demand for housing in Leppington. Prior to these reforms, over the four‑year period from 2023 to 2027, Leppington ranked number one in terms of projected occupied dwelling growth, at 19.7 per cent. That is 254 per cent above the Sydney average. I repeat—254 per cent. That shows that, prior to these reforms, a lot of the growth was being taken on by places like Leppington and south‑west Sydney. There was not a fair distribution across the City of Sydney. One of the primary reasons for that was because the previous Government adhered to a Red Rooster line approach to governing. For those who are not familiar with the Red Rooster line, it is a straight line drawn between all of the Red Rooster food outlets in Sydney, said to indicate the border between eastern Sydney and Western Sydney.

During COVID we saw Western Sydney treated differently to the rest of Sydney by members opposite. When we look at infrastructure, we again see there are two Sydneys. Eastern Sydney got plenty of infrastructure from members opposite, but parts of Western Sydney, including Leppington, missed out. Leppington has subdivisions, in Austral, that were approved by the Land and Environment Court that have pump‑out sewerage. In effect, we have gone back 50 years. The great Gough Whitlam brought sewerage to the western suburbs. We have now reverted 50 years; we are again building houses in Western Sydney with pump‑out sewerage. Thankfully, the great Minister Rose Jackson is quickly addressing that problem, and we will have the Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling Centre open in 2026 to ensure that we again have sewerage in Western Sydney.

Whether it is servicing infrastructure, such as sewerage, roads or schools, we are getting on with the job. Sadly, there has been a lack of investment in my part of the world. Statistically, the Leppington electorate has the most students in private school. An important part of our education system is giving people the choice to send their kids to private school if they wish. The sad fact remains that for many people in the Leppington electorate, those in Austral, Leppington and Denham Court, it is not by choice; it is because there is no public high school to send them to. The Government has committed to building a public high school in Leppington.

I am happy to say that we appear to have bipartisan support on the issue of rebalancing the housing targets. In a press conference last Thursday, the Leader of the Opposition said, "I think every council will say, 'We're at capacity.' We support a significant uplift, but every council has to pull its weight. Every council has to do its fair share." Hear, hear, Mr Speakman! He was also quoted as saying, in an interview with Clinton Maynard on 2GB on Friday, "I think we're on a unity ticket when it comes to that." He referring to rebalancing urban sprawl in Sydney. Sadly, I do not think the message has gotten through to some of his newer recruits who were elected last March. In a Facebook post last week, the member for Vaucluse claimed that, "We pull our weight." I do not think that is true. She wrote, "The east has a long record of meeting and exceeding housing targets." Well, that might be the case, but those housing targets are grossly less than places like Leppington are taking on.

The member for Pittwater—or "King of the NIMBYs" as the Premier referred to him today—was also elected in March last year. He launched a petition on his Facebook page last week titled "Stop Labor's Development Onslaught". Those are emotive words. I am very disappointed in the member for Pittwater. Pittwater is the home ofHome and Away, but the member does not want any homes there. That is very disappointing. What would Alf Stewart say if he read the member for Pittwater's post? I think his response would be "Stone the flamin' crows!" and he would call members opposite who wish to stop this important reform "a bunch of flamin' galahs". There is confusion among Opposition members; some want the reforms, some do not. It is about time that we vote on this to see who is on board with balancing housing targets in this city to make sure that everyone gets their fair share.

In reply: I thank the member for Blacktown and the member for Auburn for their wonderful contributions. I also thank the member for Manly, the member for the Upper Hunter and the member for Badgerys Creek for their contributions to this debate. We are all in agreement on one point: There is a housing crisis in New South Wales. I note the amendment of the member for Manly but, sadly, I will be breaking his heart. Labor will not be supporting his amendment for one reason—namely, paragraph (4) which states:

(4)Calls on the NSW Government to reintroduce the First Home Buyer Choice program.

The Opposition has acknowledged that we are in a housing crisis; its solution is to go back to the broken policy that caused the crisis in the first place. I quote my good friend Alf Stewart once again. If on being elected Labor said, "We can fix the housing crisis by using the same old broken policies," the New South Wales electorate would channel Alf Stewart and call us a bunch of drongos. They would say, "Stone the flaming crows," and call us a bunch of galahs. For that reason, we will not be supporting the amendment.

The member for Badgerys Creek said that we are all in agreement. Those who spoke in this debate are certainly in agreement but, unfortunately, those opposite are not all in agreement. I have, hot off the press, a media release from Paul Scully, the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces—those opposite will be disappointed to hear this—which states that the Opposition's spokesman for planning, the Hon. Scott Farlow, has given notice of his intention to introduce a bill to abolish transport oriented development [TOD] locations. Shame! That is 170,000 new dwellings in Sydney to arrest what those opposite have acknowledged is a housing crisis. I am flabbergasted that the Hon. Scott Farlow would try that in the upper House while we were debating this important issue. I know who else is flabbergasted—his boss, Mr Mark Speakman, who acknowledges that more needs to be done.

The Young Liberals would probably also be flabbergasted despite the fact that they have never heard this word in their life. The Young Liberals have supported TODs. The Young Liberals council came out in support of the TODs. An article inThe Sydney Morning Herald on 8 March 2024 states, " The Young Liberals are siding with the Minns government over its plan to increase housing density around train stations, urging their parliamentary colleagues to help Labor achieve its targets." I do not often agree with the Young Liberals; I agree with them here. I also agree with Mr Mark Speakman but, sadly, they need to get the rest of the band on board, and that includes the Opposition spokesman, Mr Scott Farlow.