Reporting Government and Institutions Assignment 1 – Local Government Story Blacktown City Council’s 2036 strategic plan

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Photos by Caroline Layt at Rouse Hill

October 11, 2017
Caroline Layt

Blacktown City Council has developed a strategic plan to cope with the state government’s directive to accommodate a larger population within its boundaries by 2036.

Blacktown’s mayor Stephen Bali says development of its CBD into high rise and semi-rural areas into suburbia within council boundaries is due to Sydney’s expanding population growth, which is fuelling the local economy with construction of new buildings, schools and shopping areas.

Mr Bali told Hatch, “Firstly the NSW state government has given a directive of increasing population in the Sydney basin.

“The State government expects Blacktown City population to exceed 520,000 by 2036.

“Blacktown City has been one of the fastest population growth centres in Australia for the past four decades.

“The local government responsibility is to see how we can manage it within the financial constraints we have.

He believes people have been accepting of the change from semi-rural to a suburban environment. Key concerns he pointed out is getting the infrastructure right; ie roads, schools, community centres, sporting facilities, etc, so as to make our great city a sustainable liveable city.

“In general, Blacktown City’s economy is approx. $16 billion and growing approx. 4% p.a. With some 120,000 jobs” he said.

In the Blacktown City Council strategic plan he explains further, “The release of land for development in our strategic plan our “Blacktown 2036” follows a program of extensive community engagement… it is not a council plan, rather it is your plan: shaped by the community and reflecting it’s opinions.

“It outlines how we will keep working to plan for our sustainability into the future.”

A recent poll was conducted by Fairfax Media and according to an article published in news.com.au 66.4 per cent of people surveyed have a contrary view and think the city is full.

They’d prefer development is pushed to the city’s fringes, as they fear overcrowding and lack of infrastructure.

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Sandra Layt, a former secretary of the Hawkesbury Chamber of Commerce, fashion designer and pioneer of the turf industry during the 1970s has a similar view with those people surveyed.

Her rental property at Rouse Hill is less than one kilometre away from the near completed Cudgegong Station, which is the central hub of the Skytrain network.

Ms Layt told Hatch, “With all of the development going on, average Australians are struggling to buy properties and homes, simply because greedy developers and investment buyers are pricing them out of the marketplace through their collusion with state government and local councils and their policies.

“We’re losing our cultural identity.

“We were once a land of opportunity, but it’s becoming more difficult for people to start up from nothing like my generation (the baby boomers) did after the second world.

“It’s becoming clear now and in the future many people will simply exist with lack of opportunity and people don’t want that for their kids and future generations, hence the majority support (of the news poll survey) to halt future development.”

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