Speech to Parliament: Stop Over-Development in Kingsford Smith

When I was first elected as the member for Kingsford Smith, in September 2013, one of the first things that I did was to organise a public meeting at South Sydney Junior Rugby League Football Club in Kingsford to discuss with members of the public the New South Wales government's urban activation precinct policy at the time.

The New South Wales government was proposing massive developments along the Anzac Parade corridor, through Kensington and Kingsford, on to Maroubra, down to Malabar and all the way to La Perouse, with developments up to 20-storeys high, completely inconsistent with the character of current development contained in the Randwick council Local Environment Plan and with no additional infrastructure to cope with the additional number of residents and, ultimately, the number of cars that would be added to our streets as a result.

At that meeting, the community expressed its outrage and anger at what the New South Wales government was proposing. In the wake of that, the New South Wales government backed off on the Urban Activation Precinct. They put it on hold. It appears that the UAP is now back on the agenda for our community. The metropolitan plan that was published by the New South Wales government in December 2014 identified 'local urban renewal opportunities yet to be identified along the Anzac Parade corridor'. It appears that a number of developers have taken advantage of this window of opportunity, in the wording of the metropolitan plan, and have been out in our community trying to encourage local residents to sell their properties, ultimately for development.

As a result of that, I have been alerted to a number of over-the-top and outrageous development proposals that are inconsistent with the Randwick council's Local Environment Plan. One of those is an area known as the Kingsford Triangle, just on the roundabout at Kingsford: 395, 397 and 397A Anzac Parade. Currently, that particular area is zoned for seven to eight storeys and the development proposal that has gone in is for a building of 21 storeys. As you move further down Anzac Parade towards Kensington, again the LEP is for seven to eight storeys. In other parts, we have seen some of these proposals go way above that. Eighty-one to 103 Anzac Parade has a proposal for 20 storeys; 111 to 125 Anzac Parade has a proposal for 26 storeys. Twenty-six storeys is bigger than anything that has been built at Green Square. It is way over the top. For 139 to 151 Anzac Parade, Kensington, there is a proposal for 24 storeys. These are some of the proposals that developers are trying to force upon our community under the New South Wales Liberal government's current planning proposals. They are over the top and they are inconsistent with the Local Environment Plan for Randwick.

When these proposals first came to Randwick council, thankfully the council saw sense and rejected them, but the developers are now attempting to use a government policy, known as the Gateway Review Process, to have those developments approved by a backdoor process. The alarming thing about the Liberal government's Gateway process is that there is no local consultation. There is no notification or consultation with neighbours and residents in the local area. Some of these proposals are coming up to the joint regional planning panel, under the Liberal government's processes, in a few weeks time. The pre-Gateway proposals will now go to a joint regional planning panel. They are coming up in a couple of weeks time, as I said. On 3 December, 84 to 108 Anzac Parade goes to a joint regional planning panel. Kingsford Triangle goes to a joint regional planning panel on 7 December. The problem with these joint regional planning panels is that they are stacked in the Liberal government's favour. There are representatives from local council on them, but there are only two representatives. The state government has three representatives, so they clearly have a voting majority. If the joint regional planning panel approves of these developments to go out for public comment and they then do approve them, they will go to the Minister for Planning in New South Wales under the pre-Gateway proposal. I have no doubt that if these individual proposals are approved then you will see a green light for developers to head all of the way down Anzac Parade, through Maroubra, through Malabar and all the way out to Little Bay and La Perouse as they originally proposed under the urban activation precinct for high-rise development.

I want to point out that I am not opposed to development. Development is very important, because ultimately with a growing population we need to ensure that our kids and future generations do have properties to live in. But what is important is that local residents have a say in the way and the manner in which their local environment is developed. Under these proposals and the Liberal government's policy in New South Wales, the public get very limited opportunity to comment. At the end of the day, if a joint regional planning panel approves it and the minister approves it, there is very little opportunity for the community to object. It is important that the development be consistent with the local area—that it is consistent in terms of context and that it is consistent in terms of public transport and traffic congestion. I believe that the local council should have a say in the way that the area develops and the plan that is put together for development in a particular community. Under this process, the local council is bypassed and the Randwick Local Environmental Plan that has been developed by Randwick City Council is bypassed, and that is a missed opportunity for our community to have a say in the future development of our area.

There is enormous concern within our community about these proposals under the Liberal government's policy. On the weekend I was out with a petition in Kensington and Kingsford with a number of colleagues, and there was widespread support from community members in opposition to this policy proposal and what has been proposed by a number of developers in our community—not because people are opposed to development but because these particular individual developments are way over the top, particularly in the context of a lack of supporting infrastructure and congestion on local roads. There needs to be further consultation. The New South Wales government needs to heed the concerns of local residents in this area and scale back some of these development proposals and, importantly, ensure that there is consultation with local residents, that there is appropriate development in accordance with the local environment plan that has been put together by the local council and, importantly, that the local council as a representative of the community is consulted.

I said at the beginning that our community came together to oppose the UAP, as it was put forward at the time, because of a lack of infrastructure, a lack of consultation and the fact that it was way over the top for our community. If we need to do the same again in respect of this proposal, I am happy to facilitate those meetings and work with my state counterparts—the member for Maroubra, Michael Daley, and the member for Heffron, Mr Ron Hoenig—to ensure that we stop outrageous and over-the-top development in our community.

Do you like this post?