Infrastructure: Housing Targets

Monday, 03 June 2024

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell) (10:55): I rise to record my concern about the New South Wales state government's increases to housing targets but not in the way people might imagine. In my electorate of Mitchell, we will more than double the existing housing requirements, which I'm happy to say on the record is a good thing and a good decision from the New South Wales state government. My concern relates to the intersection of federal and state government policy, including on immigration, where Sydney accounts for 99 per cent of the population growth—170,000 people in Sydney last year—but we only built 46,000 new homes. This is a major concern for Sydney.

With the federal government not doing anything about the GST mix in relation to New South Wales, my concern is not the growth in housing. I think that is substantial and needed. My electorate will bear the brunt of that, which I think most people accept, given the $10 billion to $12 billion rail line infrastructure that was built by the previous Liberal government. My concern relates to the funding of infrastructure and necessary services. For example, I've spoken in the House before about the chronic lack of public school infrastructure. We are opening the Gables Public School—it's being built and will open soon. It's already full. In the member for Greenway's electorate, the Riverstone Public School was already oversubscribed when it was built and is now chronically oversubscribed. All the public schools around my electorate are feeling the pressure of this growth.

I say to the state government that without proper plans for immediate investment in new public schools where new houses are growing at 2½ times the current rate—and have already been doing so for a while—this is a critical issue. I'm going to be advocating in a much more forceful way for the necessary infrastructure for police, and the Rouse Hill hospital needs to get underway. That construction really needs to be going asap in every single budget of the state government. If you are not planning ahead for public schools in these critical growth corridors where you are doubling or tripling the rates of housing growth—we welcome that, but we don't welcome the lack of investment in critical services to go with it.

Once again, north-west Sydney will have to fight this fight. I call on the member for Greenway and others to join me in this fight. I call on the New South Wales state government to join in on saying that the planning, funding and work needs to be done now. You can't put houses in suburbs at three times the current rate without the critical infrastructure when those suburbs and services are already massively overloaded. The time is now to have this conversation. We will be putting pressure on the state government, and the federal government needs to come forward and rearrange the GST mix in a way that rewards New South Wales for that tripling of growth. It's thanks to the New South Wales Labor state government, but there is no funding attached to reward that growth in housing. I don't know what they're talking about at these federal and state housing ministers meetings, but surely there must be incentives, and there must be concurrent funding from the New South Wales GST mix to deal with the infrastructure requirements of those new communities.