6 Mar 2023

A lot has happened since the last NSW state election and as we move toward one of the tightest election races in recent memory, it is important that we take a measured approach when considering growth for our future cities and communities.

Regional Director for NSW, Princess Ventura was a keynote speaker at the recent Urban Taskforce’s ‘Driving Success in the Property Industry’. Amongst the Hon. Rose Jackson, Shadow Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness and Libby Walsh, Managing Director for Roxy Pacific Holdings, Princess addressed the audience and unveiled Urbis’ Key Economic and Policy Changes for NSW, noting the 5 key calls to action for the next NSW government to consider.

We strongly believe these five actions are imperative steps to ensuring NSW continues to prosper and our cities and communities are fit for a better future.

Low productivity growth and the challenges associated with constrained availability of workers has grown as a major concern since the beginning of the pandemic. One of the arguments for improving labour productivity and the availability of an increased labour force, is the need to amplify women’s participation in the workforce. This has been enshrined in the 2022-23 Budget with funding set aside for to increase women’s participation in the workforce and boosting childcare services.

Research has indicated that women’s participation in the workforce is 9 per cent lower than that of their male counterparts. The incumbent government has stated [1]that by improving this rate and equaling it to men’s, we can grow the economy up to 8 per cent by 2060.

Continued ongoing support of childcare and childhood education will be essential to reach this milestone and ensure women are afforded the same opportunities to attain employment and career growth. The next government needs to ensure that labour productivity and women’s participation in the workforce are key policy agenda items to ensure NSW remains competitive and an attractive destination for prospective workers, particularly women.


By international standards, our cities are some of the safest, most diverse and inclusive in the world. However, being good enough is not where we need to stop. There are always improvements and advancements that can be made to not only make our cities safe but to also diversify the types of people who interact with them throughout the day and night. Making improvements to the diversity of the night-time economy offerings, improving lighting and pedestrian access and ensuring a resident population exists in the core of our cities are just some of the ways we can make improvements.

Our recently launched 10-point plan for improving women’s engagement in the night-time economy steps through some of these initiatives in more detail. This plan can be used to improve women’s safety and engagement in the night-time economy, to benefit other marginalised groups and to improve our centres and CBDs going forward.

Recently, housing supply and affordability have been a hotly debated topic, with a multitude of potential solutions tabled by diverse stakeholders. What has become ever more apparent, however, is that this is an extremely complex issue with no clear-cut solution.

With this in mind, we implore the incoming government to progress this debate with the specific aim of continuing to tackle housing supply, affordability and availability of choice head on. This will involve understanding the key issues at play and listening to a wide range of interested and impacted parties. Existing committees and roundtables should be continued and expanded where possible to ensure the voices of the entire industry are heard and factored into approaches to address this wide ranging and far-reaching issue.

Much work has already been undertaken (and is ongoing), including the publication of the NSW Housing Strategy and local housing strategies and the setting of housing targets. What is lacking, is comprehensive implementation of these strategies and targets with no one agency taking sole responsibility or accountability. Setting clear and defined objectives for the monitoring and implementation of such plans and targets would go some way towards improving housing affordability, supply and choice in NSW.

One of the greatest criticisms about planning and development in NSW is the stark disconnect between land use and infrastructure planning and delivery. This has particularly been the case in growth centres and greenfield land release areas throughout the state. It leads to frustrations for not only developers awaiting lead in infrastructure but also to incoming communities who await the construction of schools and other essential infrastructure which they rely on for optimum livability.

To counteract this, the incoming government should continue to engage with the industry to identify how to structure an approach so that infrastructure does not lag behind development or prevent development. The coordinated approach undertaken by the Greater Cities Commission in recent years, has helped identify how land use and infrastructure should be coordinated but improvements can be made on the delivery front where many of the struggles and hurdles lie.

There is no doubt that climate change is driving worsening weather patterns and its impact is being felt everywhere. We have seen extreme heat leading to devastating bushfires with rain fueling flooding the scale of which has never been seen before. As our climate continues to shift in the face of rising global temperatures, we have no choice but to adapt and become more resilient, sustainable and fit-for-future in our approach to city shaping.

There are several avenues which can be pursued to improve our approach to climate change. Planning and urban design can play a key role in the future of new buildings and precincts particularly when it comes to sustainability and resilience. There needs to be a clear path to how NSW is to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions and what we as an industry can do to support this. The incoming government should clearly articulate how to achieve these goals in line with targets set by the federal government.

Princess Ventura View Profile
James White View Profile