Successive Liberal and Labor Governments have stopped local communities from having a say in planning decisions, and created laws that favour their developer mates.
The Greens’ plan will return planning power to local communities. We will ensure people are connected to their workplaces and amenities via efficient, affordable public transport services:
Planning for people, not profits. Give local people a say about what happens in their communities, and the power to create liveable, connected, sustainable neighbourhoods that are not overrun by developers. More »
Better cities, better regions. Save Sydney and rescue regional centres from top-down planning that alienates the needs of locals people. Return power of local councils to make strategic planning decisions. More »
Corruption-proof planning. Establish a Royal Commission to uncover past malpractices and restore faith and integrity to planning in NSW. Ensure all future planning decisions are transparent, and open to independent review and scrutiny by the courts. More »
Efficient, affordable public transport. Efficient public transport for towns and cities, with free rides for young people and $1 metro fares for everyone else. More »
Bike paths in Sydney and regional centres. Safe, accessible and connected networks of bike paths to ease the pressure on congested roads. More »
Growing creative industries. Bring culture and entertainment back to NSW by supporting the arts, restoring the music scene and protecting the night-time economy. More »
Our plan for stronger communities
In a wealthy state like NSW, all neighbourhoods should provide a high standard of living for residents, with good amenities and public transport that connects peoples’ homes to their workplaces, and to sports, leisure and creative spaces. This is a absolutely achievable. But it requires political guts to stand up for ordinary people and stare down developers, and The Greens are the only party with the political will to make it happen.
The Greens will create neighbourhoods that meet the needs of local communities by:
1. Making ecologically sustainable development the primary objective of the planning system, with a focus on meeting the challenges of climate change both in what we build and what we protect.
2. Changing the law so that no part of the state can be targeted for more intense development until firm and funded commitments are made for quality public transport, green open space, schools, hospitals and community facilities.
3. Placing binding tree canopy targets on all urban areas to green our cities, clean our air and cool our homes and streets. These will be based on protecting existing tree cover, and a minimum 10% increase in tree canopy every five years, with rolling annual targets being set and monitored by satellite observation.
4. Restoring all environmental and heritage protections for developments, including state significant developments.
5. Ensuring critical public transport links are in place, including a complete Sydney suburban rail loop and filling in missing metro connections.
The Greens will always prioritise people and the planet before developers. We will end the profit-driven destruction of our suburbs, towns and regions by ensuring all developments respect the local environment and are matched with quality public services. Most importantly, we will ensure local people have control over planning decisions that their communities.
The Greens will put the community, not developers, in charge of planning decisions by:
1. Returning powers to local councils to make decisions about local development matters, with rigorous anti-corruption measures in place.
2. Abolishing local and regional planning panels that are currently populated by paid development industry professionals, are inherently biased towards development and have zero democratic accountability.
3. Bringing councils together in our cities and regions to develop and implement rigorous regional planning, with compulsory engagement in that process by state government departments of health, education and transport.
4. Returning appeal powers to the Land and Environment Court, including allowing third party appeals on all matters. The Greens will also retain the Court’s existing low cost rapid resolution measures for residential housing disputes.
5. Abolishing the private certification system and returning to a system of publicly paid and publicly accountable building certifiers, employed by local councils with oversight by a state-wide professional body.
We must empower local communities to guide the future of our cities, towns and regions. This means putting people and the planet before developer profits.
Across greater Sydney, communities have lost their power to be heard, with the state government instead creating laws that benefit their developer mates. They have imposed dwelling targets, stripped powers from local councils and approved exemptions from planning controls that allow bigger and more imposing developments to be constructed.
Whole new suburbs have been built with no public transport, inadequate access to schools and hospitals, and lacking green open spaces for children to play.
To fix this these problems, planning in Sydney requires:
Enforceable targets for affordable housing in new developments (minimum 30%);
Democratising decision making;
Sensible and accountable regional planning; and
More trees and green open spaces.
Rescuing regional NSW
Planning controls in the regions must empower local decision makers and give the community a strong voice. At present many rural and regional communities have little or no access to public transport, which in turn limits their educational and employment opportunities. It is critical that developments in regional areas allow for adequate transport, water, infrastructure and services.
Improving regional planning decisions requires:
Removing centralised control over regional planning;
Fostering local cooperation in strategic planning;
Encouraging more trees and green open spaces; and
Radically expanding public transport options in the regions to improve access to jobs and other opportunities.
Communities throughout the state have lost confidence in the integrity of the planning system in NSW. Planning decisions must be transparent, accountable, and open to appeal.
The Greens will restore integrity to planning by:
1. Immediately establishing a Royal Commission into planning in NSW to fully investigate past malpractices and failures, and focus on how to restore integrity and community faith into the future.
2. Restoring third party appeals to ensuring all planning decisions are open to independent review and scrutiny by the Land and Environment Court. The court will be empowered to summarily dismiss any frivolous or vexatious claims.
3. Ensuring that any planning approval granted by a local council that is contrary to the advice of planning staff is subject to independent review by the regional organisation.
4. Ensuring NSW does not see another fiasco such as the Opal Tower disaster by abolishing the private certification system and reinstating publicly accountable building certifiers employed by local councils, with oversight by a statewide professional body.
5. Delivering independent auditing of planning decisions by local councils and NSW Planning. This will provide a continuing anti-corruption measure and encourage best practice planning.
The Greens have a plan for high-frequency, fast and reliable public transport. This means investing in buses, trains and ferries to ensure they are always available and on time.
It also includes 24-hour train services over the weekend, because if you’re out late at night or a shift worker you have access to a safe, affordable and easy way to get home.
The Greens’ plan would also fill the public transport gaps in regional NSW and Sydney, and build fast and reliable rail connections across the existing radial links to Central Station.
We will work with communities to plan a western Sydney orbital rail line linking the major urban hubs of Campbelltown, Penrith and North West Sydney. This will deliver long-needed infrastructure for the existing population.
The Greens have a plan to deliver free transport for people under the age of 18, and $1 metro fares for everyone else.
People who live on the outskirts of cities or in the regions already have to commute the longest to get to work. They should not have to pay the most to use public transport.
The Greens’ plan would radically to cut the cost of living and ease traffic congestion by encouraging more people to use public transport.
Almost everyone under the age of 18 is in school, at TAFE, university or other education. It makes no sense to charge children for public transport.
The Greens know a well-planned network of bike paths would take pressure off congested roads and encourage more people to use a sustainable and healthy mode of transport.
This is why we are committed to a $250 million four-year fund to partner with local councils to build and connect the state’s bike networks – both in Sydney and in regional town centres.
In order to ensure bike paths are safe efficient to use, they must be separated from other road vehicles and connected to a wide, interwoven network.
As the electric bike boom takes off, more people are looking to e-bikes as a sustainable and achievable form of transport. We want the state government to work with local councils to plan for and build an expanded bike infrastructure to meet this future demand.
The Greens are committed to reinstating the bike paths ripped up by the Liberal National government and investing in safe, accessible cycling infrastructure for the safety and sustainability of our whole transport system.
A vibrant arts industry and night-time economy are the sign of a healthy society. The current government has waged war on the creative industries, limiting opportunities for young people, cutting funding for new artists and failing to attract talent to NSW.
The Greens will put our state back on the world stage as a destination for creativity and innovation by:
Creating more opportunities to assist artists in producing new works for the stage, screen, games and galleries.
Supporting affordable access to engage new audiences in regional areas and amongst young people.
Investing in the arts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to recognise, celebrate and support our cultural heritage.
Rebuilding the local arts economy to attract new talent and engage international collaboration and touring.
Protect the local music scene and night time economy from state assault and provide services and security to ensure all people can enjoy themselves safely.
Sydney’s character is at stake. We can no longer afford to let our talent leave for opportunities in other states or overseas. A vibrant creative arts industry builds the economic, cultural and tourism opportunities that will put NSW back on the map as a desirable destination.