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Political 'tit for tat' destructive in the Sydney housing debate

By Tim Neary
13 September 2017 | 9 minute read
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The political “tit for tat” over Sydney’s growth is not a helpful way to find sustainable solutions for meeting the needs of the growing population, according to the Property Council of Australia.

The council said that the “wash up” of the local government elections has seen a series of sound bites on over-development, yet the complexities of the city’s growth is yet to be heard.

NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald said that Sydney will continue to grow, and that there are challenges that come with this growth.

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“But using it as a political football will not enable the conversation about our growth to constructively move forward,” she said.

“We know that many of our suburbs are already experiencing the effects of growth, with more people living in apartments across our city, sharing more, moving differently and reassessing what it means to live in a global city.

“Growth and density are issues that are of great interest and perhaps concern to the community, and it’s a lifestyle the data shows we are already experiencing, yet the current conversation will not produce better outcomes for the community.”

Instead, Ms Fitzgerald said that a “rigorous and solutions-focused” conversation is required concerning the effects of growth in the city and what the community wants from the growth.

The executive director said: “Reducing the issue to convenient sound bites is a failure of political leadership that will not move this conversation forward, but rather constrain our ability to look for new approaches that will address people’s concerns over growth while still meeting the needs of a growing population.

“A growing number of people will need homes, schools, hospitals, transport options and recreational spaces. It is up to our elected officials to manage this change and the bumps that may occur along the way and bring the community along for the journey.

“We must not get caught in a polarising debate but rather work together to find solutions that provide our community with equitable growth, sustainable housing, a greater number of jobs and better ways of connecting.”    

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