With the NSW State Election looming on Saturday the planning and development industries have raised questions about the promises from the major parties.

Planning and development in the State, and particularly Sydney, has proven to be a major election issue with policies developed and offered across broad areas from affordable housing, to Aboriginal cultural heritage and even Sydney’s night life playing into the policy offerings.

We summarise the pledges for you against each policy area below.

Affordable housing

Labor has pledged to mandate 25 per cent affordable housing on government owned land, with the publicly zoned land to be placed on an Affordable Housing Register. Land which is privately owned will have a mandated 15 per cent made available for affordable housing. Labor says it will create 25,000 homes per year, in line with the Greater Sydney Commission targets.

The Liberal-National Coalition (the Coalition) has stated that it will offer a 5-10 per cent affordable housing target, in line with the Greater Sydney Commission recommendations.

These housing promises come in the context of the target set by the Greater Sydney Commission for eight councils in Sydney's western city district, in the south-west and west, to build 39,850 new homes between 2016 and 2021.

Building industry reform

Labor has pledged that it will reform the building industry to improve accountability. It will establish the NSW Building Authority to be an overarching regulatory agency for the building industry and will also introduce a certification and registration scheme for engineers. Labor has also promised to stop the practice of developers choosing private certifiers and removing perceived and actual conflicts of interest in that area.

The Coalition will introduce a NSW Building Commission and proposes a multi-layered “check off” system for all stages of the building process.

Holding Redlich hosted a seminar on 14 March with Michael Lambert as our special guest, along with representatives from the firm, to discuss the issues arising from the Opal Tower response and the building industry generally. An update on the seminar is coming soon.


Labor has announced major reforms to heritage law and policy. It will hold a summit to develop a heritage strategy for the State. It will continue to develop a separate Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act and limit the power of Ministers to reject proposed heritage listings.

The Coalition will continue to progress its work on a streamlined Aboriginal cultural heritage system, including with its Aboriginal Cultural Heritage legislation exhibited last year in draft form.

Spot rezonings

Labor has pledged to stop “spot re-zoning” by removing the ability of developers to approach the State Government for site specific zoning. The effect of this policy announcement will be to remove “Pre-Gateway Reviews” so that decision making power stays with local councils.

The Coalition has announced it will retain the existing system of Pre-Gateway Reviews and will not be making any changes in this area.

Open space

Labor has committed to planting six million trees by 2030 and providing $50 million over four years to support open space.

The Coalition has started its five million trees program. The Premier has announced there will be a new Minister for Open Space, in addition to $150 million for new parks.

The Coalition have pledged to create a new National Park in the Southern Highlands to protect Koalas. Labor has also said that it will create a new Koala National Park.

North south rail

Labor has committed $10 million for preliminary work on rapid transit between Western Sydney Airport and Liverpool.

The Coalition has committed to North South Rail and transit between WSA and Liverpool as part of the City Deal.

Rail infrastructure

Labor will reserve $8 billion to accelerate Western Metro construction, and invest $3 billion into the broader rail network. This will likely result in the loss of Northern Beaches Link and F6 projects.

The Coalition has committed to the $6.4 billion Metro West and the upgrade of Sydenham to Bankstown line.

Live music, liquor licensing and lock out laws

Labor has promised to implement its live music policy, including to introduce funding for soundproofing by live music venues. Labor has also pledged to create a regulatory agency to help deal with noise complaint issues and to reform the liquor licensing laws in NSW. It will also review the “lock out laws” put in place by the current government.

The Coalition has not made any announcements relating to live music, liquor licensing and maintains its policy on the lock out laws.

Renewable energy

Labor has promised to fund $300 million (redirected from its cancellation of the demolition of Sydney Football stadium) towards its “Cool Schools” policy with solar panels to be installed on schools and air conditioning in public school classrooms. Labor has announced a goal to install solar batteries in 1 million homes within 6 years, as well as building solar gardens and windfarms on rooftops as part of its renewable energy policy.

The Coalition has promised to invest $500 million in its “Cooler Classrooms” fund with air conditioners to be installed in schools and powered by solar panels where possible.

Climate change

Both Labor and the Coalition aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Labor has promised to act on climate change by achieving a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

The Liberals have proposed establishing a $1.4 billion Climate Change Fund to help communities with climate extremes and promote energy efficiency.

Native vegetation

Labor has said it will restore native vegetation protections, including establishing a biodiversity taskforce to make recommendations to remake the Local Land Services Act 2013 and the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

The Coalition will maintain the current biodiversity conservation laws.