SYDNEY METROPOLITAN PLANNING STRATEGY
The Hon. J. F. RYAN: I direct my question without notice to the Minister for Planning and Minister for Housing. I am sure he is aware of increasing community concern about the urban environment. Will he explain what the Department of Planning is doing to involve the community in the development of a new metropolitan strategy for the Sydney region?
The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: A new metropolitan strategy for the greater metropolitan region is being prepared by the Department of Planning in consultation with government agencies and the community. The new strategy will revise and update the 1988 metropolitan strategy, which concentrated on Sydney's growth and expansion. Our understanding of the key issues associated with Sydney's growth has changed since 1988 and a revised strategy is needed to reflect those changes. Greater emphasis is being placed on issues such as environmental problems, the cost of continued growth on Sydney's fringe and the need to consider Newcastle and Wollongong as part of a greater metropolitan region.
The Government has a much better appreciation of the value of community consultation, and this too will be reflected in the preparation of the new metropolitan strategy. The emphasis on consultation and co-ordination includes improving consultation between government agencies responsible for metropolitan planning. That has resulted in the development of an integrated approach to land use and transport planning. The metropolitan strategy is being prepared in parallel with the Department of Transport's integrated transport scheme. Together they will form an integrated approach to land use and transport planning in the greater Sydney region. The new integrated approach is well supported by a new approach to community consultation in the preparation of both strategies.
The development of the metropolitan strategy has broken new ground with its substantial community consultation program. The program acknowledges the need for the strategy to have a broad base of community understanding and support. The first phase of the community consultation program, which extended from August to November last year, involved three steps: first, a brochure inviting comment and including a short questionnaire was widely distributed; second, interested organisations were contacted and invited to make submissions; and, third, a series of workshops were held throughout the greater metropolitan region, participants being drawn from organisations involved in metropolitan planning.
More than 400 responses were received to the brochure, as well as more than 150 detailed written submissions from State and local government agencies, interest groups and individuals. The responses indicated clearly the interest in environmental issues and support for improved public transport. Interest was shown also in Sydney's growth and there was general support for urban consolidation. The workshops raised many issues specific to particular parts of the greater metropolitan region, but the need for improved co-ordination was a common theme. The opinions and information provided in the three consultation steps have been assessed and are being taken into account in the preparation of the metropolitan strategy discussion paper. That paper, which is being prepared now, is due for release mid year. The release of the discussion paper will be followed by a second extended phase of community consultation, which will include a comprehensive program of workshops, seminars and informal liaison.
The community consultation program has been supported with the appointment of an independent advisory committee. That is another significant innovation in broadening the scope and depth of community consultation in metropolitan planning. The independent advisory committee was appointed by the Minister for Planning to provide direct input into the preparation of the revised strategy. The committee includes a wide range of non-government representatives and its essential function has been to advise on land use and transport interactions. This ongoing input from the independent advisory committee and responses from the second phase of the community consultation program will be reflected in the final document, to be completed towards the end of this year. That final document will take into account also the implications of new information made available through analysis of census data released last week.
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: If honourable members have further questions, I suggest they put them on notice.