Property New South Wales

NSW Missing Middle, Biodiversity Assessment Method and Infrastructure Updates

NSW October 8, 2019

Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code Update 

The NSW Government has released the report of the independent review of the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code undertaken by Professor Roberta Ryan of the University of Technology, Sydney.  

The Minister commissioned the review of the code in June 2019 concurrent with the announcement of a further deferral to the Code’s commencement to 31 October 2019.  The review’s scope was to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister on the implementation of the Code in the deferred council areas. 

The review found that NSW needs greater housing diversity to address its current and future housing needs. It also found a key justification for further deferral is to let local strategic planning continue to proceed so as to inform localised controls for special areas and to negate the need for planning proposals to update LEPs to respond to the Code.  Changes to council planning controls to thwart the operation of the Code may hamper increased housing diversity and affordability. 

The review delivers 18 recommendations, including: 

  1. The operation of the Code be further deferred until 1 July 2020. 
  2. The Code should be renamed the Two-Storey Housing Diversity Code. 
  3. Agreed Interim Special Local Character Area be excluded from the Code until 1 July 2020. 
  4. The Greater Sydney Commission should work closely with councils in developing housing diversity targets within the overall dwelling housing targets. 
  5. These should be no LGA wide permanent exclusions from the Code or nomination of whole LGA as a Special Local Character Area. 
  6. Where the Code currently applies to a R2 zone it should not be removed from application through a planning proposal to prohibit medium density housing.
  7. The Code’s operation (in the 80 non-deferred LGAs) should be monitored and reviewed for a period of 21 months from 1 November 2019 until 30 June 2021.

Further information on the independent review and the government response can be found here. 

If members have any feedback on this report, please contact 

NSW Biodiversity Assessment Method Update 

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is proposing to make a range of improvements to the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM). These changes are based on feedback and questions received from users through the Land Management and Biodiversity Conservation (LMBC) Service Centre as well as other agencies involved in the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme. 

The changes will: 

  1. make the BAM easier to understand and apply 
  2. clarify assessment requirements and provide additional guidance to help assessors understand options for addressing and offsetting impacts 
  3. add streamlined assessment options to provide more efficient assessment processes 
  4. ensure technical terminology is consistent within the BAM and with the relevant legislation and regulations and  
  5. add a new appendix on valuing land-based conservation measures for strategic biodiversity certification. 

The proposed changes are to ensure the BAM is functional and user-friendly, no changes are proposed to metrics in the BAM, such as biodiversity risk weightings or equations for calculating biodiversity credit yields or offset requirements. The BAM will be on exhibition until 16 October, read more or make a submission here.  


NSW Infrastructure Update 

New Sydney Fish Markets Announced 

The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes announced Government approval of a $750 million investment for the new Sydney Fish Markets in Pyrmont. The fish markets which will be relocated to the head of Blackwattle Bay and will improve pedestrian and cycling links by connecting more of Glebe and Pyrmont to the water. 

The building which has been designed by Danish architects 3XN, in association with Sydney based BVN and Aspect Studios will also have a six-star green star rating and advanced water efficiency, including public promenades, a ferry wharf and more than 30,000 square metres of new public open space across the precinct for the community.  

A two-stage procurement process for demolition and construction will commence shortly, with early works expected to begin in late 2020 and the new fish markets to be opened in 2024. Master planning for the current fish market site will be subject to community consultation which will commence once the Greater Sydney Commission’s Pyrmont Planning Review is complete. Read more here. 

Sydney Metro Update: Pitt Street Station  

The NSW Government has announced that Pitt Street Station will become Sydney’s newest landmark, with a $463 million contract that has been awarded to a consortium of Oxford Properties, CPB Contractors and Grocon to deliver the new station and two new buildings above Pitt and Bathurst Streets. 

A 39-storey commercial office building will be built above the northern entry to Pitt Street Station and accommodate upwards of 3000 daily occupiers. A 39-storey rental residential building will be built over the southern entry and will offer approximately 230 premium apartments and facilities. 

As part of the value capture agreement on Sydney Metro, the NSW Government will receive $369 million from the consortium for the air rights to develop the new buildings. Work is already underway, with waterproofing and permanent lining of the tunnels. With the new station being built underground, the buildings will be built at the same time minimising disruption. Read more here.