Planning news from Sydney SOS and would you say it is the same here in Melbourne?

We have achieved astonishing success with our long-running campaign against the practice of political donations in New South Wales.  Legislation now only allows donations by individuals and up to a maximum of $5,000 per annum.
 
Surprisingly there has been little change in planning policy actions.  The New South Wales Department of Planning continues to force high-density onto communities.  Its staff regularly call on local councils to pressure them to continue to comply with its unwanted destructive policies.
 
We believe a major part of the explanation is that Members of Parliament are captive to the bureaucracy.  These unelected officials (whose salaries are paid by us) drive administration policy to a much greater degree than we like to think.  They may be termed “civil servants” but they are neither civil nor our servants.  The boot is on the other foot.
 
We have to counter this pressure from the bureaucracy. One way is to send emails to our Members of Parliament.  Here follows an email that is going out by SOS member Anthony Meaney about escalating traffic congestion.
 
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TRAVEL TIME NIGHTMARE
 
Dear (name of MP)
 
The results of the last state election clearly demonstrated angry voter reaction to bad planning.  The situation is still deteriorating.  Sydney now has the longest journey to work time of any city in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (except for New York) – even worse than Los Angeles.  This is the inevitable result of the NSW Government having adopted extraordinarily prescriptive high-density planning policies against all common sense. 
 
Blind Freddy will understand that higher densities result in more traffic congestion whereas natural dispersion of people and their destinations reduces congestion.  In higher densities any slight increase in the proportion of people travelling on public transport is overwhelmed by the greater number of people in the area who still have to use their cars for all sorts of reasons. This is exacerbated by the increase in heavy vehicle and commercial traffic required to cater for their needs. 
 
There is no evidence that the current “Centres” policy will be any better. The diversity of people’s skills, opportunities and needs make it impossible to put anything but a tiny fraction of required destinations into a centre. The centres policy in Stockholm was a disaster. In spite of priority being given to local residents 75 to 85% of people living in the centres worked elsewhere.  And 75 to 85% of people working in the centres came from elsewhere.  Eventually the Swedes moved out of the high-density and were replaced by social welfare recipients and immigrants.
 
Please advise when your government intends to implement fact-based planning in place of the current ideologically driven developer-backed nonsense. Surely your Coalition government was elected to dismantle the previous corrupt Labor government’s planning based on developer donations. At least you’ve dismantled the donations culture, but all we have now under the Coalition is similar policies backed up by the same inflexible NSW Dept of Planning high density policies.
 
Damn the evidence, full speed ahead has been the Department’s policy for the last 16 years.
 
Your considered position on the present planning policies of the NSW Dept of Planning would be much appreciated.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
Anthony Meaney
 
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Regards
Tony Recsei
President