4.3.5 Establish South West District’s 20-year strategic targets

Notwithstanding the existing strength of Greater Sydney’s housing market, planning has a central role in ensuring sufficient capacity is created to support the delivery of a minimum of 725,000 additional new dwellings over the next 20 years across Greater Sydney.

This significant challenge requires sustained efforts by all councils. Given the timescales associated with development, a longer-term outlook and capacity-based approach is needed.

A capacity-based approach creates the opportunity to address a range of factors including:

  • opportunities to address pent-up demand across Greater Sydney consistent with the estimates of the NSW Intergenerational Report that there is unmet demand for a further 100,000 dwellings across NSW above the projection of dwelling need by the Department of Planning and Environment
  • the prospect of the higher population projections for Greater Sydney being realised (the estimated demand for 725,000 additional dwellings by 2036 is based on the medium population projection scenario)
  • the need to improve housing choice together with opportunities for people to live locally
  • the productivity benefits of additional housing supply, consistent with the calculations provided by NSW Intergenerational Report
  • the need for a contingency to support steady supply across each of Greater Sydney’s districts in the case of unforeseen blockages
  • that not all capacity built into the planning system is realised as development, nor are all approvals commenced or completed.

Councils should therefore start considering now, through the preparation of local housing strategies how additional capacity can be created from which the private and not for profit sector can deliver supply and housing choice. These housing strategies are to meet the District’s 20-year housing target as a minimum.

In Wollondilly, Camden, Campbelltown and Liverpool local government areas there is significant capacity for housing supply into the long term generated through the Priority Growth Area programs led by the Department of Planning and Environment. These councils have an important role and focus on coordinating with State government in the delivery of these new communities. The opportunities for urban renewal and medium density are greatest along the existing rail corridors and in the northern part of the District

Table 4-3: South West District Minimum 20-Year Housing Targets 2016 – 2036


Minimum 20 Year

Housing Target 2016-2036

South West District*


Greater Sydney Total



Source: Department of Planning and Environment, 2016 NSW State and Local Government Area Population and Household Projections and Implied Dwelling Projections 2016–2036, NSW Government, Sydney

To ensure that new housing capacity opportunities leverage current and future infrastructure provision while improving Greater Sydney’s equity and liveability, we will work with local and State Government, as well as communities and industry, to identify new and expanded opportunities for housing capacity in proximity to existing and planned infrastructure.

Once identified these areas can be incorporated as investigation areas within the final District Plans and the new Regional Plan for Greater Sydney to be developed in 2017. This process will also help us to establish a new and specific 20-year strategic target to 2036 for each local government area in 2017 and continue to inform our infrastructure priority list and advice to government.

The testing and progression of these areas through more detailed planning should then be undertaken via the preparation of council’s local housing strategies and incorporate the Department of Planning and Environment’s priority precinct program and other programs such as UrbanGrowth NSW and Communities Plus.

A framework to guide this process is set out in the following section and Section 4.2.6 provides preliminary analysis of these areas based on our initial research, Action L3 provides further guidance on where to focus investigation areas.

Action L2: Identify the opportunities to create the capacity to deliver 20-year strategic housing supply targets

The Commission will:

  • prepare 20-year strategic housing targets and include these in the final District Plan and the review of A Plan for Growing Sydney
  • work with councils and the Department of Planning and Environment to identify investigation areas for additional housing capacity to form part of local housing strategies.



Strategic guidance for new housing capacity


A Plan for Growing Sydney’s Goal 2 is for a city of housing choice, with homes that meet our needs and lifestyles. The Directions included:

  • accelerate housing supply across Greater Sydney
  • accelerate urban renewal across Greater Sydney – providing homes close to jobs
  • improve housing choice to suit different needs and lifestyles
  • deliver timely well planned land release precincts and housing

Since the release of A Plan for Growing Sydney the projections for growth have been revised upwards. The projections include multiple scenarios with the middle scenario of 725,000 additional dwellings over 2016-2036. This is an increase of 9% from A Plan for Growing Sydney owing to revised population projections. The projections for a high growth scenario require an additional 830,000 dwellings.

There is a need to accelerate housing supply across Greater Sydney to accommodate new housing growth while also responding to housing affordability. While the planning system cannot directly build new homes, we have a key role to play in creating opportunities for new housing in the right locations. We refer to this as ‘capacity’.

To do this, we need clear criteria as to where additional capacity needs to be located. Our vision for accommodating homes for the next generation is intrinsically linked to planning for, and integration with, new infrastructure and services. We identify the opportunities to do this in three ways

Urban renewal


Urban renewal provides opportunities to focus new housing in existing and new centres with frequent public transport that can carry large numbers of passengers – meaning that more people can live in areas that provide access to jobs and services.

A Plan for Growing Sydney identifies possible urban renewal corridors. These opportunities need to be investigated further now to determine their ability to provide capacity for new housing in the medium (five to 20 years) and longer (20+ years) term. The need for this additional capacity is greatest in the North and Central Districts.

In addition to the general guidance in A Plan for Growing Sydney, we propose the following criteria for investigating urban renewal corridors:

  • alignment with investment in regional and district infrastructure. This acknowledges the catalytic impacts of infrastructure such as Sydney Metro Northwest and Sydney Metro City & Southwest, NorthConnex, WestConnex, Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail, Parramatta Light Rail and Northern Beaches Hospital and any other future projects committed to by the NSW Government. It also acknowledges the opportunities created by enhancements to existing infrastructure.
  • accessibility to jobs, noting almost half of Greater Sydney’s jobs are in strategic and district centres.
  • accessibility to regional transport, noting that high-frequency transport services can create efficient connections to local transport services and expand the catchment area of people who can access regional transport within a decent travel time.
  • the catchment area that is within walking distance of centres with regional transport.
  • the feasibility of development, including financial viability across a range of housing configurations (one, two and three+ bedrooms) and consistency with market demand.
  • proximity to services including schools and health facilities.
  • consideration of heritage and cultural elements, visual impacts, natural elements such as flooding, special land uses and other environmental constraints.
  • consideration of local features such as topography, lot sizes, strata ownership and the transition between the different built forms.
  • delivery considerations such as staging, enabling infrastructure, upgrades or expansions of social infrastructure such as local schools, open space and community facilities.


Medium density infill development


Medium density development within existing areas can provide a greater variety of housing sizes to suit individual household needs, preferences and budgets.

Many parts of suburban Greater Sydney that are not within walking distance of regional transport (rail, light rail and regional bus routes) contain older housing stock. These areas present local opportunities to renew older housing with medium density housing.

The Department of Planning and Environment’s Draft Medium Density Design Guide shows how this local scale renewal can promote good design outcomes. The planning regulations that support delivery are set out in the Department’s proposed Medium Density Housing Code.

Councils are in the best position to investigate opportunities for medium density in these areas, which we refer to as the ‘missing middle’. Medium density housing is ideally located in transition areas between urban renewal precincts and existing suburbs, particularly around local centres and within the one to five-kilometre catchment of regional transport where links for walking and cycling help promote a healthy lifestyle.

New communities in land release areas

Greater Sydney’s north west, west and south west contain land for new communities. The emerging shape of these new communities has shifted in recent years to take advantage of investment in infrastructure such as Sydney Metro Northwest or the rail line to Leppington.

Opportunities for more intense development around centres has seen a greater variety of housing types including apartments and terraces. A greater variety of housing choice is supported by housing diversity amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Centres) 2006. In the last decade there has been a major shift towards smaller lots which has resulted in a significantly higher dwelling yield. 

Land release areas offer significant medium and long-term capacity in Greater Sydney’s north west and south west.