Every day I am proud to represent this Inner West community in NSW Parliament.
I am proud to represent a truly diverse community that looks out for one another, a community that is a great multicultural success story and where people of any age, background or socio-economic status call home.
Our community has always been a place where people lived, worked and played.
It is a community rich in heritage – we are lucky and proud to have invaluable and one-of-a-kind historic homes, vibrant industrial and creative precincts, parks and streetscapes, and a rich indigenous history also.
These values are part of what makes our suburbs special, and what makes our suburbs significant to the whole State.
These plans that we are here to discuss tonight – the Government’s Sydenham to Bankstown Renewal plans – are the antithesis of those values.
They simply do not reflect what we love about our community.
Our history, our diversity, our amenity, and sustainability as a community are undermined by plans that go too high and reach too far into our suburbs.
I think we need to be very clear here – these plans have not been written for us, they have been written for developers.
But what the State Government has not yet learned is that we are a fighting community and we won’t take it lying down.
I would like to particularly acknowledge the continued success of the Save Dully Group and the newly formed Save Marrickville South Group.
And I acknowledge also the fantastic turn-out at the recent community meeting organised by the Sydenham Bankstown Alliance.
Dulwich Hill and Marrickville are being asked to take far too much of the fair share of density in these plans and I stand with you in our fight against them.
Marrickville is under attack in the new version of the plans with the Government adding an extra 6,000 units in Marrickville—up from 4,000 in the 2015 plans.
This means twelve storey towers on both sides of the station including Schwebel Street, Ann Street and Leofrene Avenue.
It means swathes of land zoned for eight storeys, up Petersham Road.
Ludicrously, these eight storey zonings also jump Carrington Road to impact Ruby, Renwick, Cary and Premier Streets.
This is particularly concerning – it shows a lack of understanding and a complete disregard for the quality of these historic streets.
The transition from the 8 storey buildings proposed along the western side of Carrington in no way interacts with the single-storey dwellings behind them.
The Government’s plans also mean streets like Grove Street, Warren Road and Ivanhoe Street are rezoned under the misleading category of ‘low rise housing’, which actually means units up to four storeys.
Marrickville will see significant uplift, far greater than anything it has seen before.
The towers planned for opposite the train station reach upwards of 12 storeys – to give some idea of what that will look like, the Revolution Building is 8 storeys.
Now, we must remember Marrickville is a heritage suburb.
But the heritage study conducted in these planning documents has not extended to the areas around The Warren or up Petersham Road.
Again it shows a complete disregard and would result in the destruction of much of our urban heritage.
Finally on Marrickville I want to briefly reflect on what these plans will mean for affordable housing in our suburb.
The Government’s plans contain no targets, no inclusionary zoning or indeed any regard for the cost of housing.
This is a massive failure. Not only because the apartments that go up will cost close to or indeed over a million dollars, but because many of the houses that are bulldozed to make way for them were affordable. The very areas that are slated for rezoning are made up of a genuine mix of accommodation including rentals and boarding houses.
Not only will we see no additional affordable housing, but we will see a net reduction as we lose existing buildings.
That will significantly undermine the diversity of Marrickville.
I turn now to Dulwich Hill - a community who made 561 submissions to the original plans, which appear to have been roundly dismissed in the revised plans.
Dulwich Hill will see an additional 2,000 units, which is just 59 fewer than that proposed in the 2015 draft strategy.
This is despite the Minister indicating publically that the number had dropped by 1,400 units.
This claim has been revealed as slippery mathematics at best and downright deception at worst.
These plans maintain significant swathes of development on Hercules Street and Terrace Road and expands three-storey development along Wardell Road and Riverside Crescent and intensifies development at Dulwich Hill Station.
I want to also particularly raise the proposed rezoning of historic Dulwich Hill buildings like the Greek Church and maternity hospital, which are slated for redevelopment in these plans.
These icons must not be lost.
Save Dully have done a fantastic job of highlighting the heritage impacts of these plans on these community icons.
Finally I want to turn to perhaps that greatest failure of these plans – the lack of provision of schools, medical services, parks or sports fields.
The Government has planned for none of the community infrastructure needed to support 100,000 extra people along the Sydenham to Bankstown Line.
The Government has got this completely back to front: we must plan for and build the community infrastructure before even considering any rezoning of this scale.
Even the Government’s central motivation for this rezoning – the extension of the Sydney Metro through our suburbs to Bankstown, is back to front.
If it goes ahead, the line will be built a full 8 years after construction begins on the thousands of extra units allowed under these plans.
That’s thousands of extra people crammed onto already crammed roads, ids crammed into schools and child-care centres, families crammed into doctor’s waiting rooms and hospitals.
Now, I am all for investment in public transport, but it seems to me that:
When you have train services in the northern part of my electorate servicing Western Sydney already at capacity,
When you have the inner west light rail service at capacity during the peak,
When you have public buses weaving through heavily congested streets, gummed up by building construction;
You should invest in those services to make them better.
And you should prioritise the parts of Sydney that are underserved by public transport, not prioritise converting an existing heavy rail line that is not at capacity.
The Government has categorically failed to explain to the community as to why they are prioritising the metro investment over others, and like so many in the community, I have my doubts.
I particularly have my doubts when I’m being asked to accept mass rezoning of my suburbs on the promise of a new service that they have failed to justify.
What’s more this Government has completely failed to justify the rezoning.
Instead, the Government has carefully considered the development yields from the rezoning plans but produced a set of plans which barely address the crucial community infrastructure that would need to accompany development of the scale it is attempting to propose.
In the recent NSW Budget, the Government funded no additional classrooms for Marrickville or Dulwich Hill, despite 75% of primary schools in our community being either close to or at capacity.
There was no commitment around additional funding for Canterbury Hospital, despite the projections for crushing demand on hospital services based on the existing population growth being accommodated in this community.
Shamefully, there has been no commitment in these plans to deliver affordable housing, inclusionary zoning or new social housing.
Instead, the rezoning will see the removal of swathes of existing affordable housing.
Sports groups continue to tell us that they are struggling to find enough spaces to train and play.
We should be accommodating a robust sport community here in the Inner West, and instead the Government are forcing these growing clubs into smaller and smaller spaces.
As has always been the case, the plans provide no meaningful commitments to new open space, with only a few civic squares and lineal parks promised to be delivered by developers as “works in kind”.
As anyone who lives in the inner west knows, developers are unlikely to deliver on these promises and a lot more than just a few pocket parks are required to meet the growing demand for genuine recreational spaces.
Have no doubt, these plans are for developers, not for the community.
I stand with each and every one of you who is demanding to be heard when it comes to planning decisions for our community.
We know that the way to plan for the additional growth in our city is not to force plans upon communities, but to work with residents to find sensible solutions to growth and density.
Because when the buildings have been built and the developers leave, it is us who will live here.
And it is our voice that matters in this discussion.
I urge to connect with local groups like Save Dully and Save Marrickville South, to work with my staff after the meeting to make a submission or to make a detailed submission.
At the back of the hall, you will find submissions that you can fill in and leave with my staff.
And we need to keep up the fight.
There have been some victories in these new plans where residents raised their voices.
I trust that together we can do that again.