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Sydney councils required to devise house building strategies

Councils in the Sydney area will be required to produce their own individual strategies to speed up the development of new homes over the next five years, following the updating of draft plans by the Greater Sydney Commission.

These have reaffirmed the target of building 200,000 more homes across Sydney by 2021, setting aside concerns about the high housing density this would create and the consequent impact on transport and other infrastructure, the Sydney Morning herald reports.

Under the plans, Sydney will be split into five zones - East, Central, West, North and South - with each area being delegated particular priorities for planning and development. The masterplan envisages making Sydney function as three interconnected cities in which homes, jobs and services are all within 30 minutes travel time. 

The zone with the greatest responsibility will be central, which covers the heart of the Parramatta and Blacktown districts. These will contain 53,500, with 21,650 of them in Parramatta. 

East Sydney, which includes the eastern beaches and central business district, will have 46,550, with 18,300 in the central area. 

In addition to these figures, between five and ten per cent of new homes must be classed as 'affordable'. The plans will work towards long-term projections of Sydney's population increasing to six million 20 years from now, and to eight million by 2056. The bulk of this rise will be facilitated by the expansion of the urban area inland to the west. 

Commission chief Lucy Turnbull said the plan would enable Sydney to deal with "a once-in-a-century period of Sydney's infrastructure boom", but not all the local districts are convinced the plan will work. 

The City of Canterbury-Bankstown said the methodology behind the calculations was "unclear" and said upfront support from the state government will be needed to ensure its approval of the plan.

In its submission on the blueprint, it added: "Without demonstrating the planning work required to arrive at the short-term target, council is concerned the housing target is unfeasible at best."

Sydney's population growth may be driven by its economic performance, should New South Wales continue to grow faster than other parts of Australia. 

The latest State of the States report from CommSec, published earlier this month, showed the state remained the economically healthiest part of the country, ahead of Victoria, with the Australian capital territory third.

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