Urban Taskforce - Group Photo

The Meinhardt Sydney Office hosted an Urban Taskforce member-only event on the recently released new Metropolitan Plan for Sydney- “A Plan for Growing Sydney” (“The Plan”), which featured Halvard Dalheim- Acting General Director, Planning, and Design and Dr Liz Develin- Deputy Secretary- Growth, Design and Programs, from the Department of Planning and Environment. Meinhardt is a Core Member of the Urban Taskforce and is its selected representative engineering and professional services firm.

The Plan is intended to guide land-use planning decisions for the next 20 years and presents a strategy to deliver land, infrastructure, housing and employment for Sydney’s predicted population growth over this time. The Plan focuses heavily on urban renewal corridors in and around transport hubs, particularly through increasing densities and building heights.


The key elements of the Plan include:

  • The establishment of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) responsible for implementing the Plan;
  • The expansion of the Central Business District via a corridor to Eveleigh and a cultural ribbon along Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Walsh Bay and the Bays Precinct including revitalisation of the waterfront. Additional connections between the CBD and North Sydney are proposed, and include plans for a second Harbour rail crossing;
  • The promotion of Western Sydney, especially Greater Parramatta, which is to be transformed into a second CBD;
  • New transport initiatives including the extension of both the North and South West Rail Links, the Western Sydney Rail Upgrade, the Outer Sydney Orbital, WestConnex and NorthConnex Motorways, the Western Harbour Tunnel, and the Western Sydney Freight Line;
  • Urban renewal and housing, particularly along transport corridors, such as the North West Rail Link corridor, Parramatta Road corridor, Anzac Parade corridor; Bankstown to Sydenham corridor, and within Priority Precincts. Urban consolidation is intended to be achieved through strategic increases in building height and lifting restrictions on subdivision in particular areas.
  • Improving links to and increasing capacity at Sydney’s Gateways – Port Botany, Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Airport. These Gateways will form part of the extended Global Economic Corridor that will stretch from Port Botany and Sydney Airport through the CBD and Macquarie Park connecting Parramatta, Norwest and Sydney Olympic Park.
  • The introduction of a “Green Grid” to connect multi purpose open spaces, parks, conservation areas and green corridors across the city.
  • A greater investment in arts, culture, entertainment and heritage for both the CBD and Parramatta with the objective of enhancing Sydney’s competitiveness as an international tourist destination.
  • A new planning hierarchy that includes sub-regional plans, local and new community strategic plans.

The difficulties associated with long term metropolitan strategies lie in its implementation, with responsibility falling to the new GSC. The GSC is yet to be established (enabling legislation anticipated mid 2015) however will be located within the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and its board will report directly to the Minister for Planning. Board representation will comprise of independent, state agency and local government membership.

The GSC will work in collaboration with local councils, the community and other stakeholders to identify strategic locations for housing, employment, associated services and green space in the form of sub-regional plans. It is not clear how the GSC will work with the 41 Councils in six newly defined sub-regions to prepare and implement sub-regional plans. The sub-regional plans are to include the performance based targets against which the outcomes of the Plan will be measured. At the local level, the Plan’s actions will be implemented via existing Local Environmental Plans and new Community Strategic Plans prepared by local Councils and will be monitored by the GSC.

A new Ministerial Direction will also be introduced to ensure that new local environmental plans and Planning Proposals (to justify land rezoning or to amend development standards in a local environmental plan) are consistent with the Plan.

It is hoped that effective consultation and communication between the GSC and local Councils will deliver a shared desire for tangible outcomes which are to be reflected in local policy and decision making. Without measurable and realistic targets, the Plan will not reach its full potential.

We look forward to working with our clients to unlocking opportunities that the Plan and future Sub-regional plans may present.

Please click “A Plan for Growing Sydney” to find out more.

You can also download our Planning Capability below.



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