JA’s solution, his magic bullet is to create a “Megacity” stretching from Newcastle to Nowra … connected by HSR …
Apart from his engagements with Huang and others it is now revealed he has been beavering away on a concept of a megacity of 15 million people
-with 3 or 4 million in Newcastle
–2 million for Gosford and Wollongong …
Looking to pack as many as they can into the Southern Highlands, Goulburn and Nowra … what will the “Highlands Society” have to say about that??
AS Bennelong was devoured by overdevelopment where was JA?
CLARA (HSR) was to connect major cities to airports. Looks like it is now to serve a high-rise megacity …
The “LNP will not let go of their market of Ultra High Wealth Visa Holders seeking permanent residency” … together with Planning Sinister Roberts a national plan to feck us up for 50 years and beyond!
Bennelong MP John Alexander calls for focus on national settlement plan
Bennelong Liberal MP John Alexander has called on politicians of all stripes to quit the personal slanging matches and turn their energy towards developing a “national settlement plan” to ease the big cities’ growing pains.
The Australian Davis Cup tennis great says he is fed up with the “cheap shots” from both inside his own party and in the “Canberra bubble”, and believes only a move to a “genuine contest of ideas” will win back the community’s respect and solve Sydney’s “planning mess”.
“Once we turn the culture of politics away from this negativity, where if you’re not the biggest loser you win, to ‘we’ve got an idea, can you come up with a better idea?’, then people will start listening again and engage,” Mr Alexander said, as federal Parliament returned this week for the final sitting period of 2018.
“People in politics spend too much time knocking each other, rather than having a genuine contest of ideas. Things need to change.”
The 67-year-old was lamenting Sydney’s “stifling” congestion when he took a swing at the culture of Australian politics.
“Question Time is meant to be for the Opposition to raise concerns over our legislation for us to consider, with the opportunity to refine it,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be just a tear-apart and cheap shots session in what (Prime Minister) Scott (Morrison) describes as the Canberra bubble.”
As the transport network, schools and hospitals bear the brunt of Sydney’s rapidly growing population, Mr Alexander said “it’s a planning mess” in the Harbour City.
“We can feel it with all the development (in the northern district), from Delhi Rd (in North Ryde) to Macquarie Park, to Epping, to Meadowbank and Wharf Rd (in Ermington), where in one development there are 5000-7000 dwellings being built.”
The Bennelong MP chaired a parliamentary committee which recently unveiled a raft of recommendations to address housing affordability, city congestion, overdevelopment and immigration levels.
“A Minister for Cities and National Settlement needs to be appointed; it is a must,” Mr Alexander said.
“A National Chief Planner also needs to be established.
“And with immigration, it should be tuned to your capacity to house, the capacity of your infrastructure and your job market.
“Once we have a national plan, through strategic decentralisation, then immigration gets tuned to that.”
It comes as the federal government will now seek greater input from the states when setting migration targets. The annual migration intake is expected to be trimmed from 190,000 to about 160,000.
Australia’s population hit 25 million in August, much sooner than previous projections laid out. In western Sydney, recent research shows it is growing much faster than the rest of the city.
Its total population of 2.3 million is now collectively bigger than the nations of Fiji, Luxembourg, Iceland, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Greenland, Lichtenstein and Nauru.
THE MAGIC BULLET
Mr Alexander remains confident that high-speed rail will be rolled out in the near future, ending 45 years of empty promises with the creation of a Sydney “megacity”, stretching from Newcastle to Nowra.
“The concept of a Sydney megacity with, say, 15 million people can work if you have three or four million in the Newcastle area, 25 minutes from Sydney (via high-speed rail), and a couple of million people in the Gosford and Ourimbah area, just 15 minutes from Homebush (which would be Sydney’s new terminus), and the same with Wollongong,” he said.
“And you’d also look at the Southern Highlands, Goulburn and Nowra, and how many people you can get into there.
“What this all does by spreading the population, through strategic decentralisation, is taking traffic off the roads, giving a pressure-release valve for Sydney, and in turn allowing it to retrofit infrastructure.
“Fundamentally, we need to stop all this ad hoc planning that’s going on across Sydney. We need a national plan for 50 years and beyond.”
A NET REWARD
It’s not game, set, match yet for John Alexander’s political career.
Contrary to reports over the past year, the 67-year-old Aussie tennis great says he has not contemplated heading to the back-courts of retirement and would seek preselection to contest the seat of Bennelong at next year’s federal poll.
“I’ve never considered retirement. The greatest fear I’ve got is having nothing to do,” said Mr Alexander, who has just moved his electorate office to Beecroft Rd in Epping, ironically due to development.
“I never would have imagined doing this type of work when I was playing professional tennis, developing sports clubs, doing PR and that sort of thing.
“I thought it was just a case of bringing some good ideas to the table. So it took some time to get my head around all the different (government) systems, but it’s very rewarding work.”
“JA” had a five per cent swing against him a year ago at a by-election sparked by the dual citizenship fiasco.
Since then, his government has further imploded with the dumping of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, and the Liberal Party suffered a humiliating defeat in the Victorian election at the weekend.
“(New PM) Scott Morrison is so much more accessible (than Mr Turnbull) to the average person. He’s an average Australian suburban guy who, like all of our Prime Ministers, has a fantastic wife (Jenny).
“He’s inherited a terribly difficult situation, but I think he is someone who many Australians can relate to.”