MACROC welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031, released by the State Government in March 2013.
MACROC understands that the Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031 is designed to provide a policy platform upon which to manage long term planning decisions that will affect the future urban form of metropolitan Sydney.
It is understood that this Strategy will replace the Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036 released in 2010 and that the new Strategy is intended to be implemented in conjunction with the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan and the State Infrastructure Strategy.
At the heart of the Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2013 is the goal to make Sydney a strong global city, a liveable local city to be achieved by focussing on the following key outcomes and guiding principles.
• Balanced growth
• A liveable city
• Productivity and prosperity
• Health and resilient environment
• Accessibility and connectivity
• Strengthen Sydney as Australia’s pre-eminent city
• Promote and facilitate growth throughout Sydney in a balanced way that reflects community and business feedback and environmental and market considerations
• Integrate infrastructure, transport and land use
• Provide housing choice while substantially increasing supply to capitalise on existing and planned infrastructure and provide market-led solutions
• Sustain a whole of government management approach to get things done
• Deliver balanced growth through a new planning framework (Subregional Delivery Plans)
While MACROC supports these outcomes and guiding principles, MACROC believes there is a major imbalance in the Draft Strategy between the areas targeted for population growth and the areas targeted for job creation and infrastructure provision.
The South West Subregion is acknowledged to having a key role in accommodating a substantial proportion of the future growth of Sydney. Despite this there is little in the Draft Strategy that demonstrates a commitment by the Government to deliver key infrastructure and other projects which will support job creation. Without this commitment by the Government the relative inequities and disadvantage that exist for the Macarthur Region will be further exacerbated.
The Draft Strategy also focuses on major Greenfields developments being the major contributor to achieving housing target numbers. The Department also needs to look at mechanisms to stimulate additional infill developments within existing centres to assist with accommodating Sydney’s projected population growth. Infill developments can assist in meeting targets by providing a mix of housing types in close proximity to transport links.
Population Growth and Employment Creation
In 2008 MACROC commissioned a study by Hill PDA that reviewed employment prospects for the South West Subregion of Sydney. The Study reviewed the targets established by the State Government at that time for employment growth. It found that whilst the South West was forecast to receive 23% of Sydney’s population growth over the plan period, it was only forecast to receive 13% of its job growth, resulting in the lowest ratio of residents to jobs across the Greater Metropolitan area. This was considered a notable mismatch that would exacerbate existing inequalities in the South West Subregion creating a “two Sydney” phenomenon.
Since 2008, the State Government has released two subsequent reviews of employment and housing targets for Sydney, the most recent being the Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031.
In April 2013 MACROC engaged Hill PDA to review the employment targets established in the Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031 for the MACROC Region , as well as the broader South West Subregion, as defined in the Draft Strategy. Hill PDA was asked to review the Draft Metropolitan Strategy to see whether the Draft Strategy and its revised targets sufficiently address the job to housing mismatch identified in 2008.
‘Employment Prospects for South West Sydney. 2013’ , analyses the most recently released employment targets and their apparent basis in order to better understand their assumptions and alignment with other targets for the MACROC Region and broader South West Subregion. The key findings of this analysis are:
Job Growth – Proportion of Forecast Share: The South West Subregion is forecast to experience 21% of all job growth in Sydney (128,170 jobs according to the BTS) which is the third largest growth of any Subregion. Notwithstanding this, it is forecast to achieve 37% of population growth (+449,610 people) which represents the largest single component of population growth of any Sydney Subregion (according to the BTS).
On this basis, the South West Subregion would only achieve a job to population growth ratio of 57% – the lowest of any Subregion. The ratio further reduces to 51% when the MACROC Region is considered on its own (i.e. the South West Subregion excluding Bankstown and Fairfield LGA’s). This compares to the figures in Hill PDA’s 2008 Study of 55%, showing that on a population basis, the forecast number of jobs in the region has declined further in the Draft Strategy compared to earlier Government targets for the same area.
As of 2031 the South West Subregion is forecast to generate 0.28 jobs per person. For the MACROC Region this would reduce to 0.26 jobs per person which would compare unfavourably to the rate of 0.286 by 2031 calculated in 2008 by Hill PDA.
Share of Job Growth in Centres: Despite the Draft Strategy’s focus on job growth in centres, only 6 of Sydney’s existing or proposed centres are located within the South West Subregion (13% of forecast job growth).
The South West Subregion is also poorly represented with respect to Specialised Employment Precincts with only 1 of the 11 Specialised Employment Precincts (2% of forecast job growth). This is considered symptomatic of the disproportionate share of knowledge sector jobs to other Subregions in Sydney.
Share of Overall Population and Jobs: As of 2011 the South West Subregion comprised 15% of Sydney’s population. By 2031 this is projected to increase to 18%, yet the share of jobs in the Subregion will only grow from 11% to 12% over the same period.
For the MACROC Region, the resident population is forecast to increase from 8% to 12%, yet the overall share of jobs is only anticipated to grow from 6% to 7% of Sydney’s jobs.
Fair Market Share: Given the South West Subregion is forecast to provide 37% of Metropolitan Sydney’s population growth between 2011 and 2031, the South West Subregion should aim to capture 37% of Metropolitan Sydney’s employment growth. That would increase the current South West Subregion employment target from 134,000 to 229,125 jobs.
The Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031 identifies targets to support growth across Sydney. In doing this it recognises that “Planning for this growth in the right way will help to boost our economy and make Sydney a great place to work and live.” To achieve this objective, the Draft Strategy recognises the importance of creating jobs close to where people live.
While the Draft Strategy seeks to achieve these objectives by significantly increasing the targeted number of jobs to be generated in the South West Subregion, compared to earlier strategies and plans, as a proportion of population growth and by Subregion, the ratio of jobs has declined. In addition there has been no corresponding shift in planning to achieve this significant additional growth, relatively limited review or addition to the number of centres, employment areas or Government policies to refocus business into the South West Subregion other than the ambition for the area to become an even more significant location for housing growth. The Draft Strategy lacks a targeted approach to specific forms of employment generation, to building a workforce that better match the skill set of the residents and that has a greater resilience to the changing economic futures of industries such as manufacturing.
The employment targets for the South West Subregion continue to be grounded on the BTS forecasts that are based on long term trends by industry and the historical trends of employment growth and industry profiles in the South West Subregion. MACROC believes however that to achieve real and positive change, the NSW Government must plan to readdress the reliance of the South West Subregion on sunset industries (old industries in decline) to sunrise (new industries expanding) that better align with the predominant skill set of the South West Subregion’s growing resident population.
MACROC’s primary concern with the Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031 is the significant issue of the mismatch between population growth, housing targets and employment growth; however MACROC would also like to comment on the following issues.
The Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031 identifies targets and strategies to support growth across Sydney and acknowledges the importance of creating jobs close to where people live. However the focus of the Draft Strategy is on concentrating business investment, job creation and infrastructure provision within more established and central areas of Sydney, while merely setting housing and employment targets for the South West Subregion. This planning imbalance is not acceptable and the Strategy needs to be redrafted to provide real strategies to support job creation for the region.
The Draft Strategy identifies nine ‘City Shapers’ to promote economic outcomes:
• Global Sydney
• Sydney Harbour
• Global Economic Corridor
• Parramatta Road corridor
• Anzac Parade corridor
• North West Rail Link corridor
• Western Sydney Employment Area
• Sydney’s Metropolitan Rural Area
Seven of these ‘City Shapers’, designated to receive public investment to help revitalise existing urban areas under the State Government’s Urban Activation Precinct program, are focussed on established areas. In fact there are no ‘City Shapers’ for South West Sydney. There is no recognition of the South West Growth Centre or the South West Rail Link, as well as the proposed Outer Sydney Orbital (M9) Corridor, as having ‘City Shaper’ status. MACROC would suggest that this is a serious omission.
The Draft Strategy also identifies specialised employment precincts. These specialised precincts have been identified for the promotion of growth and investment opportunities in places that ‘play an economic and employment role of metropolitan significance, sometimes associated with a hospital or university or an important business or office cluster’. There are no specialised employment precincts identified for South West Sydney, despite the fact that the Campbelltown/Macarthur region clearly satisfies the eligibility criteria having a strong cluster of the University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown TAFE, Campbelltown Public Hospital as well as rail and motorway access. The Draft Strategy undervalues the urban status of Campbelltown/Macarthur and MACROC considers that Campbelltown/Macarthur should be acknowledged as a regional city.
Proposed subregional boundaries: MACROC believes that the Department needs to rethink the subregional boundaries proposed in the Draft Strategy. In this document South West Sydney now includes Fairfield and Bankstown. The Macarthur Region is a unique area of Sydney and has a strong sense of regional identity. The proposed boundaries ignore this regional identity as well as the fact that the region has stronger links to the regional communities of the Southern Highlands as well as to Wollongong.
Metropolitan Rural Areas: MACROC is pleased that the Draft Strategy acknowledges metropolitan rural areas and seeks to ensure a balance between urban growth and rural areas. However MACROC believes there needs to be specific and measurable targets established to achieve this balance. Both Camden and Wollondilly LGAs are in metropolitan rural areas. Wollondilly has a unique peri-urban status and this should to be acknowledged in the Strategy and funding structures and policy development tailored to reflect this.
The Outer Sydney Orbital (M9): MACROC acknowledges that the alignment of the M9 corridor for the Outer Sydney Orbital as shown in the Draft Strategy is preliminary however identification of the route of this corridor is particularly important as land needs to be identified and reserved as soon as possible. The location of the M9 corridor is particularly important to Camden and Wollondilly LGAs. There are also implications having a major piece of road infrastructure through rural areas. It is likely that urban development would be encouraged along this corridor. The M9 should be better aligned so that it is integrated with the population and employment growth areas of Western Sydney.
The Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031 identifies targets to support growth across Sydney. In doing this it recognises that “Planning for this growth in the right way will help to boost our economy and make Sydney a great place to work and live.” To achieve this objective, the Draft Strategy recognises the importance of creating jobs close to where people live in accordance with the priorities of the NSW State Plan.
Whilst the Draft Strategy seeks to achieve these objectives by significantly increasing the targeted number of jobs to be generated in the South West Subregion compared to earlier strategies and plans, as a proportion of population growth and by Subregion, the ratio of jobs has actually declined. Furthermore there has been no corresponding shift in planning to achieve this significant additional growth: there has been a relatively limited review or addition to the number of centres, employment areas or Government policies to refocus business into the South West Subregion other than the ambition for the area to become an even more significant location for housing growth.
MACROC seeks commitment from the Department and the Government that the inequity in the South West Subregion between housing growth targets and employment growth targets identified in the Hill PDA study will be addressed and that there is the same focus in the Metropolitan Strategy in the South West Subregion on establishing infrastructure and investment to provide economic drivers to ensure the housing and employment targets are met.
MACROC thanks you for the opportunity to provide input into the Draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031. Our Region is committed to working with the Government to ensure that the Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney to 2031 delivers sustainable long term benefits for Macarthur. It is hoped that the very serious concerns raised in this submission will be considered by the Department of Planning, together with the issues raised in the individual submissions made by MACROC Member Councils: Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly.