Path cleared to create six-city Sydney mega region

The NSW government is recruiting three new City Commissioners after clearing the way to incorporate Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong into a new Sydney mega planning region.

Geoff Roberts

The role of the Greater Cities Commission has been expanded from its original remit of developing a metropolis of three Sydney cities, to creating a six cities vision for the region following the passage of the Greater Cities Commission Bill last week.

The region includes Eastern Harbour City, Central River City, Western Parklands City, Central Coast City, Lower Hunter and Greater Newcastle City and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City.

Commissioners to oversee planning for the three new cities will be appointed in close consultation with relevant councils, Cities minister Rob Stokes said. They will serve a four-year term and will be eligible for reappointment for a maximum of two terms.

Comparison to San Francisco

Mr Stokes compared concept to San Francisco’s Bay Area, the Netherlands’ Randstad and the Pearl River in Delta and said the new mega region would include three international airports, three deep water ports and six universities.

“By bringing Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong together with Sydney in our strategic planning, we are positioning the six cities of metropolitan NSW to be more prosperous, safer, cleaner, smarter and more fun to live in or visit,” Mr Stokes said.

Under the legislation, councils in the six cities region will be required to provide commissioners with relevant documents they may hold if requested, and will have to provide the Commission with staff and facilities if needed.

Central Coast Council CEO David Farmer said Council looked forward to working with the Greater Sydney Commission to make sure the LGA had voice and achieved the full benefits of being part of the plan.

Administrator Rik Hart said the voice of the local community would be important in forging the new vision and underlined the need for Council to have a seat at the table in planning and delivering on the vision.

“Bringing the Central Coast into strategic planning alongside Newcastle, Wollongong and Sydney has the prospects of seeing more opportunities open up for funding big game changing infrastructure to benefit the whole region,” Mr Farmer said.

Proposed six-cities region has seen the future Sydney compared to San Francisco

‘New era for strategic planning’

The Greater Sydney Commission will develop a strategic six cities plan for discussion by mid-2022, with a new Region Plan slated for finalisation by the end of 2023.

Chief Commissioner Geoff Roberts says it heralds the age of the global city region and represents a new era for strategic city planning in Australia.

“This will mean more people in the six cities working within 30 minutes of where they live, increased access to homes that families can afford and more equal access to higher education and training opportunities,” he said.

“The move will deliver economic and lifestyle benefits to millions of people, supporting growth with fit-for-life infrastructure and allowing more people to enjoy our enviable waterways and natural environment.”

CEO Elizabeth Mildwater said each of the six cities would build on its own signature strengths.

“We’ll keep what’s working well today in each city and supercharge this with the combined power that comes with being part of the larger world-class city region,” she said.

The Commission will consider initiatives on fast and faster rail and better digital connections as key to the success of the region.

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8 thoughts on “Path cleared to create six-city Sydney mega region

  1. The planners forget that America has cities right across the country. If we are to copy America why aren’t we building more inland cities. The coastal areas will not be able to withstand the huge population that Australian Government wants to bestow on it. Build the facilities inland and put facilities there and encourage industries. Stop pandering to migrants coming here and wanting the most glamorous life, build affordable inland cities.

    Yes we have a water problem etc, so if we can’t build those inland cities, stop copying America altogether, and just have the amount of people in coastal areas that the ecosystems can actually sustain. Otherwise the Government should just destroy all coastal nature and build their disgusting housing estates.

    1. We need to divide the States. There are provisions in the Commonwealth Constitution to have divisions inside of States.

      You could divide this into a Quasi-City State situation. Separate from the rest off NSW in regards to executive government.

      That way we would still have a legislator and judiciary for the Jurisdictional requirements of the whole State, but Administrative and Economic aspects are separated.

      With this you would need a light maglev system for the Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong merger.

      As maglev that can do 250-300km/hr to carry goods and people freight.

      Further to this, be smart move all processing and manufacturing out of this “Mega City” region. That way it less congested.

      All there should be is services and assets. All goods production is imported into the region, either from domestic producers or foreign.

      Outside of this region, it should be less rules, restrictions, taxes, a more free regional NSW. Since most of the bad stuff happens in the cities anyway.

  2. For decades now most of this state’s infrastructure spending has gone to Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong – aka “N.S.W”, leaving many areas of the state bordering on “third world country” status. So, making “N.S.W.” into a “mega-region” comes as no surprise to those living in rural and regional parts of the state as “N.S.W” was always given priority when it came to getting much needed funding for infrastructure and services. But why call it a “mega-region”, when it’s already behaving like a “mini-state” and totally divorced from the rest of New South Wales? The government should just get on with it and declare the new “mega-region” a separate state. It’s been a case of “us and them” for far too long anyway, so let’s make it official and instigate a formal secession plan so that people in the country can rid themselves of the blinkered “citi-centric” bureaucrats once and for all. It’s time for the rest of regional New South Wales to reign back control of their own destiny and the money they need to build a better and brighter future.

  3. Could not agree more with the comments above even though I live I Melbourne which has had the same situation until recently where the push is to go to Bendigo/Ballarat/Shepparton but curiously not to the east of the state in any way Politicians in general do not realise the power of the digital age nor are they long term planners by nature. A dam or dams in the northern rivers has been long needed since the 1938 proposal by Bradfield. Not only would provide for irrigation west of the divide but it would act in relation to flood protection and would have saved countless lives and livelihoods over many flood events not to mention the billions in reparation costs spent to date including this year

  4. One question: WHY? This plan aims for a population of 9 million over the six cities. Following the economists view of society, population growth drives the economy. And it does for a while, until the GDP per person begins to decline, and we all suffer a reduced standard of living. But, logically at some point population growth has to stop. So why not now, when we are grappling with climate change, extinctions, massive land clearing and habitat loss. Isn’t this some sort of madness to keep building population as we approach catastrophic consequences of overpopulation. Surely we can take a leaf from other clever countries that have learned how to grow their economy with a stable population. I believe the drivers of this plan are well-intentioned but very misguided, and need to reflect on a broader view of the needs of society and how it exists in a global natural world.

  5. The 2 coastal areas mentioned have significant Resource and Geographical issues. Its like the push in Western Sydney to Build on a floodplain, build where portable water sources are are issues. We create endless suburbs where you have to own a car. As the plan is everyone must drive.
    Walking,Cycling and Public transport not planned for! So any transport retrofits that remove the use of cars end up with are horrible and expensive infrastructure added on.
    Greater Sydney needs Planning to minimize vehicle usage and better Public amenities in particular in transportation options!
    Its already as bad as the US is!

    Our continued plan is the eroding of the already limited Green space that cities need, A lack of commitment to sustainability. In Planning and transport infrastructure policy arena.

    Currently our State economy based almost solely on Building! Houses, High rise apartments, warehouses and Office High rise to the greater profit of some Developers The Recent plan that made sense was recently thrown out with the change of Planning Minister!

    So what now see is a plan that doesn’t realise the limited supply of space that not flood and Fire prone or not subsidence affected. And in particular not environmentally sensitive.

    GSC 6 cities is not the grand plan to actually solve the current issues but to recreate the same issues.

  6. Totally agree with the above mentioned comments.
    It’s all about the money & filling their own pockets. They don’t have any respect or care for our already ailing coastal cities.
    Green areas are rapidly being destroyed. Overcrowding is to the max.
    Please, please don’t copy Europe or America & destroy what we have.
    Look at the beautiful bird life that will disappear. The beautiful sun & clean air, oxygen feeding trees.
    Breaks my heart to hear of this plan.
    Greed is the root of all evil!! & may it come back & bite them big time, if they pursue this mad wish to destroy places of beauty & tranquility.
    Above all during the dry periods, lack of or no water has been rapidly increasing even in these coastal areas.
    Well researched options for another dam is drastically needed & should be a prority. Particularly in southern Illawarra. In this area growth is exploding with families from Sydney & beyond. During the last dry period demand for water from existing dams proved critical & bottled water was the means of relief.
    If this area is to survive another dry summer, with even greater population their can only be tragedy.
    Would be a sad new lifestyle for man, the environment & the planet over all for all.

  7. Common sense tells you to put your eggs in separate baskets, else you could end up with scrambled eggs.

    Unfortunately the problem is that every man and his dog want to say live in Brisbane. Let’s say 80% of population ends up there. The way the electoral system in run, it means that 80% of elected MP’ will come from that same patch. Just another form of the old “gerrymander”.

    Until people of vision come along, I am not sure what the answer is, but I believe clean water and floods will have a big part to play.

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