Megacity thought bubble lacks substance
A little while back, our Premier released a thought bubble about an East Coast Megacity, and, now, it seems that a legislative framework has been set up to give some semblance of reality to the idea.
Of course, over the years, we have seen many administrative structures come and go, with great promises of the benefits they were going to confer but with little or no impact on the ground.
Does anyone recall the fanfare that accompanied the appointment of our modern Coordinator-General so recently, and can anyone point to a single improvement that resulted from that appointment?
Even more recently, the Greater Sydney Commission was hailed as a moving force towards transformational action in Central Coast, but has anyone seen any impact, after all the talk at the time?
Appointing a new Commission bears more resemblance to the action of a Council in appointing a subcommittee than it does to a real-world attempt to meet the needs of the six cities involved in this initiative.
The powers of this new Commission are undefined, the qualifications of the Commission members are uncertain, and the relationship of the Commission to all the other actors involved in regional development seems as nebulous as ever.
Confidence in this new move would have been strengthened, if somebody had defined beforehand exactly why this body was needed, exactly how it would function and exactly how it would link to the local government authorities who make up the megacity.
As it is, it looks more like political grandstanding with no substance and no recognizable role, beyond providing a few jobs for the boys.
Of course, we have the usual mantra about "streamlining the planning process" which, by now, we all recognize as code for reducing community involvement in all planning decisions and offering developers the freest possible rein in undertaking profitable projects.
Other than that, I have yet to see a statement that indicates that anyone has grasped what would be required to establish a workable megacity.
What I foresee is just more opportunities for squabbling about the priorities of the constituent parts of the megacity, with no sense of principles, goals, standards or implementation mechanisms that should underpin a real new direction in regional integration.
In other words, just another bass-ackwards political gesture whose real intent is probably yet to emerge but which will, almost certainly, prove to be to our disadvantage.
Email, 30 Apr 2022
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy