The announcement that finally had Sydney smiling

The announcement that finally had Sydney smiling
The announcement that finally had Sydney smiling

The longest standing prerequisite for being a politician in Australia is to turn a question into a rhetorical question – cue Sydney’s political self-preservation argument for a second airport.

This particular debate goes way back to the 1970s where nearly five decades after the initial announcement reality has now come to the fore. The only reason for this five decade delay was the concern of politicians losing office should they back such a controversial recommendation.

The Sydney to Melbourne route in 2011 was declared as the fifth busiest in the world. Sydney airport is by far the busiest in Australia with approximately 36 million passenger movements and 320,000 aircraft movements annually. By 2035, projections have passenger movements at 80 million and aircraft movements at nearly 430,000.

For too long Sydney has fictitiously survived under the falsehood that everything happens within just a 15 kilometre radius of the Sydney CBD. This myth was exposed further in 2014 when the state government moved that 24 hour a day, seven day a week clearways would come into force. Sydney was suffocating and the only solution was to move west – the embarrassing part of this entire debate is why has it taken so long?

For too long Sydney has fictitiously survived under the falsehood that everything happens within just a 15 kilometre radius of the Sydney CBD.

Look no further than the fact that Sydney does not have a plan to cope with the fastest growing population in Australia – which has resulted in residents moving elsewhere for a better lifestyle.

Kudos to Parramatta which has fast-tracked itself as Australia’s boomtown over the next five years with a record $8 billion designated with 33 major projects on the drawing board – when completed this will make it Australia’s fifth biggest CBD. An extra 838,000 square metres of commercial space and more than 3,700 apartments and townhouses have been approved.

This week’s announcement for a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek will add the largest construction growth spurt that NSW has ever seen – not surprisingly this will have a flow on effect to north and south coastal areas which will be watching the Sydney expansion with enormous interest – cue Newcastle and Wollongong.

Three graphs that will be of great interest not only to NSW but for every capital city in Australia will be:

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NSW has been stymied by a lack of direction which has been highlighted by elected politicians preferring their own vote protection over making crucial decisions that will guarantee growth, jobs and prosperity for NSW. Comparing the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 to the second airport announcement is like comparing a skateboard to a train. It is interesting to note that over the last 40 years Melbourne has increased its population by two thirds while Sydney has managed just a little over half.

So what will these announcements do to property prices? Well that’s pretty easy to answer as property prices are determined by supply v demand. For too long properties within a 15 kilometre radius of the Sydney CBD have attracted all the interest – this will now change significantly with the move by businesses in a westerly direction given that is where the workforces are (or will be). Parramatta and surrounding areas will flourish given that such infrastructure spending is unprecedented in an area outside the Sydney CBD region. Another bonus is that this construction boom will (in time) significantly bring down rents.

Australia is right in the middle of a housing affordability crisis which also has been conveniently ignored by politicians given this too is placed in the too hard basket. So it was interesting to note this week that New Zealand’s Housing Minister (yes, they have one and Australia does not) Nick Smith announced that he set an ambitious target to reduce housing affordability in NZ back to the long-run average of four times. Australia and NZ both share a median market of around 5.5%. Although this grand scheme lacks detail at least it has been tabled which is not the case in Australia given it’s not spoken about, and we don’t even have a designated minister.

Premier Barry O’Farrell fell on his sword last week and there is no denying he had to go. Brace yourself for plenty more revelations from ICAC and the Royal Commission into unions where I predict a record number of by-elections across Australia.

Robert Simeon

Robert Simeon

Robert Simeon is a director of Richardson Wrench Mosman and Neutral Bay and has been selling residential real estate in Sydney since 1985. He has also been writing real estate blog Virtual Realty News since 2000.

Tags: 
Politics Robert Simeon Sydney

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