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Premier snaps back at nemesis mayor

NSW PREMIER PARLIAMENT
NSW Premier Chris Minns snapped back at a western Sydney mayor who has been outspoken against the state government’s housing reforms. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Nikki Short

NSW Premier Chris Minns has snapped back at one of the government’s main antagonists, Fairfield City Mayor Frank Carbone, over the government’s plan to build six-storey apartment blocks in town centres.

The western Sydney leader has been one of many local mayors critical of the government’s “one-size-fits-all” rezoning reforms, which, as reported by The Daily Telegraph, could result in higher density builds in suburbs like Edensor Park and Prairiewood in Fairfield.

The firebrand mayor, who has previously said the housing overhaul would “turn western Sydney into Kolkata”, accused the government of “dumping units” in areas with “inadequate public transport” and amenities.

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Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mr Minns reaffirmed his commitment to “work with” councils but took aim at Fairfield City Council for barely hitting 50 per cent of its “relatively modest” home targets compared with nearby councils that had exceeded their allocation.

NSW PREMIER PARLIAMENT
NSW Premier Chris Minns has traded barbs with Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Nikki Short

“I want to say in relation to Fairfield, they’ve had a reasonably modest housing target of 6000, they’ve only completed 3000 houses,” Mr Minns said on Monday.

“So even the small amount of housing that they were asked to do as their share of the city’s urban population growth, they’ve got 50 per cent of the way there, whereas other councils in western Sydney in particular have build a lot more than their allotment.”

Mr Minns’ comments come as the state aims to lift its housing output by reforming planning rules to allow mid-rise housing and mixed-use development within 400m of 31 transport hubs and town centres.

The reform, detailed under the Transport Orientated Development (TOD) scheme, is expected to build 138,000 new homes over 15 years.

CHOPPER
The NSW government plans to increase density in areas located to transport hubs. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Gaye Gerard

Responding to the Premier, Mr Carbone insisted Fairfield City had approved thousands of homes; however, the struggle was building the homes, pointing to issues like stamp duty tax and the special infrastructure contributions paid by developers.

“The state and federal government has made housing unaffordable by overtaxing what is an essential need for the community,” he said.

The firebrand mayor also lashed the state government for a lack of transport links given it takes in tens of thousands of immigrants every year.

INDEPENDENT DAI LI
Fairfield City Mayor Frank Carbone has blasted the government’s housing reforms. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Damian Shaw

He added that high-rise zoning already applied to areas near train stations in Fairfield City Council and allows residential developments of up to 12 storeys.

“Chris Minns shouldn’t be pointing the finger to western Sydney who have always done the heavy lifting,” he said.

“We already have the TODs. I think Minns is really out of his league, and I think unfortunately this housing target has got the better of him.”

While the controversial plans have been lashed by outspoken mayors, including those from Hunters Hill, North Sydney, Randwick, and The Hills Shire councils, the government is now negotiating with local councils to create alternative pathways to boost housing.

On Tuesday, Mr Minns said conversations with mayors had been productive, with “quite a number” of discussions progressing.

Despite that, he conceded some opposition remained.

“The government is committed to greater urban density closer to the CBD where there are existing public transport lines already,” he said.

“We’ve made that clear and we’ve been butting up against some urban councils who are resolutely against that proposed change.”