The state government body charged with turbo-charging the state’s housing sector and replacing Landcom will not sell or build homes, it has been revealed, in a historic shift of responsibilities.
UrbanGrowth NSW, which was earlier labelled “Landcom on steroids” by Planning Minister Brad Hazzard, will not perform many of the key functions of its predecessor, chairman John Brogden said on Friday.
“UrbanGrowth will withdraw from retailing land in competition with the property industry… if you can do it, we will not,” Mr Brogden pledged in a speech to the Property Council of Australia.
“UrbanGrowth’s role is not to compete with a market that can function and deliver housing.”
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Instead, UrbanGrowth would focus on preparing land for the private sector to develop, he said.
“Once consolidated we will add value by – as needed – rezoning, master-planning and super lotting – wholesaling land into the market de-risked and ready for housing,” said Mr Brogden.
The creation of UrbanGrowth NSW, an amalgamation of Landcom and the Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority (SMDA), was a key aspect of the state budget and its focus on turning around the state’s sluggish housing market.
Other tasks it will perform include seeking surplus government land for housing, even if it meant relocating a public building.
“This might mean for example, relocating an existing Police Station to another appropriate site in the same suburb or district in order to release the original site for housing where it has a higher use,” he said.
The organisation will also take on the task of providing infrastructure for development sites that are not owned by the government.
UrbanGrowth will also take on the powers of compulsory acquisition granted to the SMDA by the former Labor government.
Mr Brogden said it was critical that such powers were available to his organisation but stressed they would be used sparingly.
“The power will only be used in exceptional cases where there is demonstrable public benefit, with proper safeguards, and a fully transparent process for landowners,” he said.
The organisation hoped to halve the time taken to deliver major housing projects like Green Square, he said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.