NSW Premier Chris Minns has put the Northern Beaches on notice to expect increased development.

In NSW Parliament yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 20 September), Premier Minns (main image) responded to a question from Labor member Jason Li about how the NSW Budget would address the housing crisis. Premier Minns replied the NSW Government would ‘tackle NIMBYism’ (Not In My Backyard) and launched a premeditated attack on Pittwater, singling out Pittwater MP Rory Amon, who he accused of having ‘never met a development that he would support’.

“We are encouraged by the proactive measures outlined by the Government to begin the work to solve the State’s housing crisis. It is absolutely crucial and we know that part of this is an attempt by the Government to tackle this NIMBYism that is gripping Sydney, in particular, and has gripped many members opposite. I point to the member for Pittwater, who was a former councillor,” Premier Minns told Parliament.

The clear implication is that the Northern Beaches will be in the spotlight for an increased share of housing supply and density, which may spell trouble for those hoping to stop developments such as the one planned for Lizard Rock.

“Right now the State is not building enough houses for the future of NSW, which short‑changes the next generation of young Australians from getting into the housing market, putting down roots, starting businesses and joining communities right here in this State. The only way we will turn that around is to increase housing supply in NSW,” said Premier Minns.

NSW Premier Chris Minns addresses NSW Parliament

Referring to statements made by Mr Amon regarding his opposition to inappropriate development, the Premier made a point of highlighting specific suburbs in Pittwater (mispronouncing some), sparking fears that a cancelled development plan for Ingleside may be revived under the Minns Government.

“He is tackling development in Bilgola Plateau, Ingleside, Mona Vale, Newport, Palm Beach, Terry Hills and Warriewood.

“He has never met a development that he would support. I have to say, those opposite are short-changing the next generation of young Australians, pricing them out of the housing market, doing nothing for rents with their NIMBY approach to housing and development in NSW. We are determined to turn it around,” declared Premier Minns.

NSW Premier Chris Minns addresses NSW Parliament

Local resident’s associations reacted with concern to the Premier’s comments. President of the Mona Vale Residents Association (MVRA) Kelvin Auld questioned the use of the ‘NIMBY label’.

“The Premier’s statement in relation to Pittwater and his misuse of the NIMBY label is disappointing. MVRA and community members express concern about loss of community led planning, destruction of Pittwater’s special character and insufficient infrastructure and services.

“The Pittwater community wants better environmental planning to protect Pittwater’s unique natural environment, scenic beauty and character. That is not NIMBYism. We want better planning with genuine community participation, not ad hoc developer led planning that would be totally out of context,” said Mr Auld.

Mona Vale already has a six-storey building, and with many of the structures in the commercial centre nearing the end of their economic life, rumours have been swirling of interest in key sites for high-rise development following the change in government.

Peter Blanchard, President of Bayview and Church Point Residents Association

President of the Bayview and Church Point Residents Association (BCPRA) Peter Blanchard (image above) and President of the Bilgola Beach Residents Association (BBRA) Norm Nolan (image below) both expressed concern that the process to review the Northern Beaches planning controls appeared to have stalled and may now be in jeopardy.

“It is important that protection provided by the Environmental Planning Act, LEP/DCPs [Local Environment Plan/Development Control Plan] and other instruments that underpin development in NSW are not randomly sacrificed in the interests of political point scoring.

“It is disappointing that a Premier would see fit to target a specific LGA in an environment where many LGAs are expressing concerns in the absence of any clarity from the State Government on safeguards to preserve the environment,” said Mr Blanchard.

Norman Nolan

“What we believe is of more fundamental importance is the Planning Act which effectively encourages developers to ignore a council LEP/DCP and to allow the LEC [Land and Environment Court] to overrule local Councils’ carefully drafted rules and regulations in relation to heights, set-backs, plot coverage and type of structure.

“In other words, it’s a social engineering document, not a rational planning document. It’s beginning to sound like our current government is as much in the pockets of property developers as their predecessors. Certainly the Premier’s ‘speech’ came across that way strongly,” said Mr Nolan.

Rory Amon volunteering for Davidson RFS

The singling out of Pittwater and MP Rory Amon (image above) was a pre-planned move, because Premier Minns spoke from notes and was unable to correctly pronounce the names of suburbs, including Warriewood and Bilgola.

The Premier’s dressing-down of Mr Amon was dealt a minor blow, because the Member for Pittwater was not in the chamber for Question Time yesterday. Mr Amon, who was this month awarded a ten-year NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Long Service Medal, was instead performing voluntary duty on the Northern Beaches due to the ‘Extreme’ Fire Danger Rating in yesterday’s hot and volatile conditions (file image above).

Mr Amon nonetheless heard the Premier’s message, saying he did not shy away from his firmly-held positions.

“Not only has the Government callously and spitefully cancelled vital infrastructure projects like Beaches Link and Mona Vale Road West which were funded and proceeding under the Liberal Government, the Premier is now lining up Pittwater for inappropriate development.

“The Premier’s attitude towards Pittwater was summed up perfectly when he couldn’t even pronounce our suburbs’ names properly. I will continue to fight against Labor’s cuts to projects and plans for inappropriate development in Pittwater,” said Mr Amon.

Premier Chris Minns’ full and unedited statement can be read in the NSW Parliamentary Hansard record.

Images: NSW Government, Northern Beaches Advocate

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