CHINESE TELECOMMUNICATIONS GIANTS BAN: The bombshell decision Canberra wanted to bury

THE LNP Australian Government has now finally heeded warnings from security experts … having ignored those about our ports, power, property ….

and issued a statement omitting reference to Chinese telecommunications equipment giants Huawei and ZTE, and that they are to be banned from building Australia’s new telecommunications network.


“AUSTRALIA is at the cutting edge of an increasing worldwide wariness of Chinese intentions. Canadian officials, for instance, are soon to travel to Canberra to look into the Huawei ban as Canada arrives at its own decision.

The US already has banned Huawei from government procurement contracts, but the US Congress is looking at more comprehensive ways to shut the big Chinese firms out of US future networks. …

China shuts foreign firms out of the Chinese telecoms market. They understand the game very well. Now Australia is beginning to.”


The bombshell decision Canberra wanted to bury

It would have been the biggest news in Australia in any other week of the year. But with the prime ministership in crisis, there was scant media interest in the email that was issued without fanfare at 8.51am last Thursday, the last full day in the life of the Turnbull government.

The subject line was deliberately unexciting – “Morrison – Fifield – Joint Release – 5G security”. The announcement from the then treasurer, Scott Morrison, and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, was a minor masterpiece in obfuscation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will have to live with the decision of treasurer Morison on Huawei.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will have to live with the decision of treasurer Morison on Huawei.Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The 1000-word statement did not mention China, or the Chinese telecommunications equipment giants Huawei or ZTE. Nor did it plainly state the bombshell decision that they are to be banned from building Australia’s new telecommunications network.

The fifth generation mobile telecoms system, or 5G, is a big deal. It’s to be the key architecture of an increasingly wired nation, connecting power and water systems, medical and driverless technologies, systems in homes and hospitals, factories and farms, enabling the so-called “internet of things”.

If you’re getting the impression that the government didn’t want to draw attention to the announcement, you’re right. After months of careful scrutiny, the cabinet’s national security committee had made the decision a week earlier. Then sat on it.


Why? Because it was nervous about Beijing’s reaction. Canberra was still negotiating its way out of a Chinese freeze on ministerial contacts and didn’t want to bring on another any earlier than necessary.

But everyone involved knew that it inevitably would bring on Beijing’s wrath. And so, when the ministers decided they couldn’t delay any longer, it did.

China’s foreign ministry said that it was “gravely concerned” at Australia’s “discriminatory measures”. China’s Commerce Ministry called it “the wrong decision” and warned of “a negative impact on the business interests of China and Australian companies”.

In the usual theatrical crescendo, the Communist Party’s China Daily newspaper denounced the decision as “poisonous to bilateral relations” and the party’s Global Times said it was a “stab in the back” for Huawei, which happens to be the world’s biggest manufacturer of telecoms gear.

Prime Minister Morrison is about to reap the harvest of this decision by treasurer Morrison. But he need not fear any internal dissent, because, in making the decision, there was none.

All of Australia’s intelligence and security agencies were in accord that the big Chinese firms must be shut out of the fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile telecommunications network, according to participants in the process.

The government did not make it plain but it effectively banned Huawei from building Australia's 5G network last week.
The government did not make it plain but it effectively banned Huawei from building Australia’s 5G network last week.Photo: AP

The Communications Department had produced an analysis of how this might increase the cost to Australian consumers. Huawei had claimed that it had the highest quality, lowest price 5G technology. To exclude Huawei would be to punish Australian firms and families, it argued.

But despite the claims, the Communications Department concluded that any such assessment was merely speculative – the global technology and engineering specifications for 5G are still being drafted.

The national security committee decision was, in the end, clear cut and unanimous, according to participants. Nor will Morrison get any dissent from the Labor party. The opposition took the view that it would not try to second-guess Australia’s security agencies.

Illustration: Dionne Gain
Illustration: Dionne Gain

Why has Australia made this decision? Other countries in the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing arrangement have taken a sceptical view of Huawei and ZTE, too, but Australia’s decision is the most comprehensive yet.

In the end, the reason is startlingly simple. There’s a lot of talk about technological complexity and searching for tricky Chinese software. The British, for instance, have allowed Huawei to supply systems on the proviso that it open its network and its computers in the UK to official scrutiny.

Pity the poor British intelligence officials who are poring over millions of lines of software code looking for fiendish Chinese traps.

This may yet become the biggest news in Australia.

This is because of the fear of Chinese spying. Or, as the head of the ANU’s National Security College, Rory Medcalf, puts it, the reality that “the Chinese Communist Party can oblige Chinese companies to act against the interests of other states for intelligence gathering purposes”.

But if the British think they deal with this risk through extra scrutiny, why not Australia?

Australian officials considered this. But, they say privately, China’s history of intrusion inside Australia’s networks is so aggressive that Canberra decided that it was just too risky.

“It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the global supply chain is too complex to unwind at this point,” says Ryan Kalember of security company Proofpoint. “So you have to rely on these broad strokes, bans of products from entire countries,” he tells Wired magazine.

Illustration: Andrew Dyson
Illustration: Andrew Dyson

And while this is a very real reason, there is an even bigger one. Australia’s officials fear that, in the event of a future crisis, the Chinese Communist Party could simply instruct a Chinese telecoms company to shut down a country’s systems. If its firms occupy a critical position, they can take an entire country offline.

The fear of a national shutdown, explains Medcalf, “relates to possible future security crises and the new global reality that China is in open strategic competition with the US and other states”.

“What’s very distinct about China is that the Chinese Communist Party is above the law,” Medcalf says. This explains why, in the federal government decision last week, the key sentence bans “vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law”.

In typical Australian coverage of China-related issues, the frame of reference is “Uh oh, another problem for Australia.” On this one, however, much of the international tech world’s coverage of this is from a different angle: “Uh oh, a looming problem for China.”

Australia is at the cutting edge of an increasing worldwide wariness of Chinese intentions. Canadian officials, for instance, are soon to travel to Canberra to look into the Huawei ban as Canada arrives at its own decision.

The US already has banned Huawei from government procurement contracts, but the US Congress is looking at more comprehensive ways to shut the big Chinese firms out of US future networks.

The Chinese Communist Party will, as ever, put on a good show of bluster. This may yet become the biggest news in Australia. But Beijing doesn’t have too much to complain about. China shuts foreign firms out of the Chinese telecoms market. They understand the game very well. Now Australia is beginning to.

Peter Hartcher is international editor.

Chinese media says ‘Australian hawks’ to control foreign affairs

NOT before time … many would say late in the day … security experts, and Prof. Clive Hamilton have warned of the “silent invasion”… that in fact is becoming very noisy whether from chainsaws destroying our environment … WeChat anti democracy campaigns …

This has been enabled not only by government asleep at the wheel, but significantly by self-interested  quarters in the business community (esp. the real estate/developer lobby) our Universities made reliant on international student fees, and with the push from commentators pulling the racist card despite blatant interference in Australia’s domestic policies …

AUSTRALIA needs its HAWKS and obviously not only needs the influence of its Defence and Security Sector, and the influence of U.S. Policy but a stop to the FIRB ruling 100% sell off of our Real Estate, the enforcement of Anti-money laundering legislation for the real estate sector with our biggest export being Our Title Deeds, and a stop to Visa manipulation with property purchase throwing in a Residency Visa … FFS!

AUSTRALIA needs to be self-reliant with a restoration of its manufacturing industries including telecommunications … to employ Australian professionals and technicians … afterall we invented WIFI …. FFS!


Chinese media says ‘Australian hawks’ to control foreign affairs

Beijing: The Chinese media has called Marise Payne’s move from defence minister to the foreign affairs portfolio a signal that “Australia hawks” will have a bigger impact on foreign policy

Australia bans China's Huawei from mobile network project

Australia bans China’s Huawei from mobile network project

Replay Video

Australia’s government on Thursday banned major Chinese telecoms firm Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment for its planned 5G mobile network, citing risks of foreign interference.

The nationalistic Global Times newspaper quoted Zhou Fangyin, dean of the School of International Studies at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, on Monday as saying Payne’s new role as foreign affairs minister meant “the Australian defence and security sector’s influence on foreign policy will become more direct, and the US’s policy impact on Australia will become more direct”.

Tensions between the Trump Administration and Beijing have been rising as a trade war escalates, and China retaliates in-kind to billions of dollars in tariffs being imposed on Chinese goods. At the weekend, President Donald Trump accused China of halting cooperation on North Korean denuclearisation, which Beijing angrily denied.

China appears to be in two minds about how Prime Minister Scott Morrison's ascension will affect the relationship.
China appears to be in two minds about how Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ascension will affect the relationship.Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The verdict on new Prime Minister Scott Morrison appears to be out in the Chinese media.

Australia-watchers have pored over Morrison’s track record as treasurer, pointing out positive statements on economic and trade ties, but also his role in blocking some high profile Chinese investments in Australia on national security grounds.

How China's Global Times depicted the rise of Scott Morrison.
How China’s Global Times depicted the rise of Scott Morrison.Photo: Supplied

Chen Hong, the director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, wrote in an opinion piece for The Global Times that Malcolm Turnbull’s legacy had “set a new precedent of antagonism toward China”.

Chen said Morrison had “repeatedly denounced economic isolationism and populism, and championed more positive engagement with China” and he would “hopefully break the diplomatic ice by visiting China”.

November’s APEC summit and G20 are the most likely venues for Morrison to meet the Chinese leaders.

The Institute of World Economics and Politics researcher, Xu Xiujun, told a state website The Paper that Morrison was a “pragmatic politician” who had expressed his desire to promote China-Australia relations as treasurer.

But The Paper reported there were “twists and turns” in the investment relationship, as Morrison blocked a Chinese company from buying the massive Kidman pastoral property or bidding for the NSW power company Ausgrid on national security grounds, yet approved a Chinese company buying Australian Tasmanian Land Company.

Zhou told The Global Times that Morrison and Payne are hawks on China.

It was Morrison who had announced the Australian government’s decision to block Huawei from the 5G network, which the Chinese government has slammed as “wrong”.

As a former treasurer, Morrison would attach importance to Sino-Australian economic relations, the newspaper reported. “But it does not rule out that the Morrison government will continue to criticise China to attract people’s hearts,” Zhou said.

China’s foreign ministry said on Friday: “China stands ready to work with the new Australian government to move forward bilateral ties along the right track”.

The United States is Australia’s security ally, while China is Australia’s largest trading partner. The diplomatic relationship between China and Australia had frozen under the Turnbull government, and was showing the first signs of thaw after a recent “reset speech” by Malcolm Turnbull at the University of NSW.




CENTRAL COAST: Future ownership of over 1,400 parcels of Crown Land to be decided

A map of all Crown Land in the Central Coast Local Government Area shown in purple

A map of all Crown Land in the Central Coast Local Government Area shown in purple

THIS is about future ownership of more than 1400 parcels of “Crown Land”, and a development application lodged for a 160 lot subdivision (in another article) … we are witnessing a feeding frenzy over the National Estate;  everything is about value, investment and profit … to hell with the consequences!

How many old Gosford Council reserves, parks and playing fields are, in fact, in that dangerous classification of ‘Operational Land’ which allows the sell off of the land without consultation?

Also view CAAN Website category:  Compulsory Acquistion & Land Amalgamation

Future ownership of over 1,400 parcels of Crown Land to be decided

AUGUST 20, 2018

The new Crown Land Negotiation Program Committee, formed by Central Coast Council, has commenced work on the Assessment Stage of the NSW Government’s Comprehensive Crown Land Negotiation Program.

The program will determine the future ownership and management of over 1,400 parcels of Crown Land within the Central Coast LGA. It is meant to ensure NSW Crown Land is held by the most appropriate organisation, out of the State Government, Local Council or Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC).

According to the NSW Government, its intent is to “achieve the most positive social, cultural or environmental benefits for the people of NSW”.

The Program includes voluntary, multi-party negotiations between NSW Government, Central Coast Council, Darkinjung LALC and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.

Council’s Negotiation Program Committee consists of a Councillor from each of the five wards within the LGA, including Mayor, Jane Smith, (Chairperson), Deputy Mayor, Chris Holstein, and Councillors, Kyle MacGregor, Jillian Hogan and Lisa Matthews.

The Council resolved on July 9 that the Committee urgently meet to review the Draft Central Coast Council Principles for Claiming an Interest in Crown Land, and the first meeting of the Committee was held on July 19.

Committee members, Council staff, representatives from Darkinjung LALC, NSW Aboriginal Land Council and Department of Lands, Crown Land (DoL Crown Lands), attended an initial site visit.

Various sites of Crown Land were visited and the parties had the opportunity to express their interests in the Crown Land. Mayor Jane Smith, who took part in the site visit, said it had been very useful. “When the Crown Lands Act changed, part of those changes was that some land would be handed over to Council,’ Mayor Smith said. “The bus trip was very useful in that we went to different sites and each of the players talked about what interest they had in that land. “It gave all of us an understanding of the process and the negotiations that will have to happen.

“For instance, Council might say they have an interest in a piece of land because its use is public recreation, while Darkinjung could say they had an interest for cultural reasons, so it was really about just understanding the process and where that land might be vested.

“The size of the task is why Council identified principles to understand what Council’s interest in each parcel of land is. “I understand the community’s concerns about the legislation, I think there has been a lot of concern about that.

“We set up this committee to make sure the interests of our community are well represented by our councillors in considering this process. “Council is not coming to it with a view of having land that can be then sold off, that is not part of the conversation or thinking at all,” she said.

Under the new NSW Crown Land Management Act 2016, the Minister has the power to vest Crown Land in the Central Coast Council if it meets prescribed Local Land Criteria and with Council’s consent.

The Local Land Criteria are whether the land: provides, or has potential to provide, a public good for residents; use is, or could be, consistent with the functions of local government; and, is, or has potential to be, managed as a community asset.

The Program is using the Aboriginal Land Agreement (ALA) mechanism under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, to reach agreement on approximately 1100 Aboriginal land rights claims that have been lodged in the Central Coast LGA.

The Program consists of four stages: Preliminary; Assessment; Negotiation; and Post Negotiation. The Central Coast Program is currently in the Assessment stage, with each party undertaking an assessment of the Crown Land in the whole area, and indicating which Crown Land they have an interest in owning and managing.

Council’s assessment will be based on its own Negotiation Principles, put forward by staff and amended by the Committee.

The Committee discussed the Councillor endorsement and approval stages of the program at its first meeting. Committee members will receive a list of all properties that Council claimed an interest in and the basis for each claim at the end of the Assessment stage, which was anticipated to be the end of August.

Then, the Crown will prepare a spreadsheet that identifies land that more than one party has claimed an interest in. Land with no or only one interested party may be retained by the Crown or vested in that party.

The land with overlapping interests will be divided up into several negotiation areas, which will then be the subject of detailed negotiations in the Negotiation phase.

The Crown spreadsheet will set out details of the proposed negotiation areas (August to September). Council endorsement will also be sought at this stage to proceed to the Negotiation Phase. However, according to the minutes of the first Committee meeting,

“The second stage for endorsement will be done using a structured approach that includes consultation with all Councillors, and does not require a formal report to Council.”

There will then be a report on the outcome of negotiations, including details of the land, or interests proposed to be vested in Council. Approval will then be required for the vesting of interests in Council at the end of the Negotiation Phase.

At this stage, further consultation will be undertaken with the Committee, with briefings for all Councillors, and a report to Council for official endorsement. Council will receive a report on progress with vesting every three months during the Post Negotiation period. “The timeframes set out in the report will need to be reassessed as the project progresses.”

Source: Agenda item 5.7, Aug 13 Central Coast Council ordinary meeting Interview, Aug 14 Jane Smith, Central Coast Council Jackie Pearson, journalist







‘Before the NSW Planning Minister decides to vest a parcel of Crown Land in the Central Coast Council, he must be certain that it meets one of three “local land criteria”. The first is that the land provides, or potentially provides a public good for residents in the LGA, or an adjacent LGA, consistent with local planning principles.’
CAAN:  * IT looks like a NSW Government/developer land grab …
Image result for norah head lighthouse

Crown Land acquisition request principles finalised
TOPICS: Council Crown Lands Lead

PHOTO:  Norah head lighthouse operates on Crown Land

AUGUST 25, 2018

The principles that will be used by Central Coast Council to decide whether or not to claim interest in parcels of Crown Land included in the NSW Government’s Crown Land Negotiation Program, have been finalised.

Before the NSW Planning Minister decides to vest a parcel of Crown Land in the Central Coast Council, he must be certain that it meets one of three “local land criteria”. The first is that the land provides, or potentially provides a public good for residents in the LGA, or an adjacent LGA, consistent with local planning principles.

The second criteria is that the land’s use is, or could be, consistent with the functions of local government. Finally, the Minister must be convinced that the land is, or could, be managed as a community asset by Council or another body.

To meet the first principle, Central Coast Councillors on the Negotiation Program Committee will be looking to declare an interest in open space and recreation land zoned RE1, including active sporting and recreation facilities, and passive parks and recreation facilities already managed by Council.

It will also be making a bid for aquatic infrastructure that it already manages, and for Crown Land required for future sporting and recreation facilities and future parks.

Another type of land the Council will express interest in during the Negotiation phase will be existing recreation pathways managed by Council that are not within public reserves, and land required for future recreational pathways. It will call for bushland and natural areas to either be vested to Council or remain in public ownership.

Likewise, it will bid for future biodiversity corridors that are in strategic planning reports. Central Coast Council will also bid to take ownership of waterways and coastal reserves that it currently manages.

It will argue for those waterways and coastal reserves that, according to Council, are required for nature conservation to remain in public ownership. In terms of land consistent with local government, Council will ask to be vested ownership of its existing operational facilities and Crown Land required for future facilities.

Cemeteries, waste facilities and holiday parks already owned, operated or managed by Council, will also be bid for by Council, along with heritage cemeteries managed by Council. It will bid for land required for future commercial enterprises or for extensions to existing enterprises. Central Coast Council will ask the Minister to vest to it existing water and sewer assets, and land required for future water and sewer infrastructure.

It will also ask to take ownership of Crown Land that falls within the drinking water catchment area. Existing road, drainage and infrastructure on Crown Lands and land required for future roads, drainage and infrastructure, including car parks, will also be subject to expressions of interest from Council.

Waterways and coastal protection infrastructure should either be vested to Central Coast Council or remain under the NSW Government’s control, according to Central Coast Council’s negotiation principles. So too should Crown Land required for future waterways and coastal protection infrastructure.

Other assets that Council will express interest in include emergency management assets and infrastructure (existing and future), and telecommunication facilities. In terms of land managed as a community asset, Council will bid for existing community facilities it uses, occupies or manages, and those occupied or managed by another organisation or reserve trust, along with land required for future community assets.

All land vested to Council should be classified as community, which means it cannot be sold. There is, however, a window of opportunity, for Council to argue for reclassification of land as operational, which would mean it could be sold via a resolution of Council.

Source: Agenda item 5.7, Aug 13 Central Coast Council ordinary meeting

SOURCE link is not included as we received a “hacker” warning. This post was prepared prior for our website!




North coast administrator swaps council for job with Chinese property developer


North coast administrator swaps council for job with Chinese property developer


Property Council’s ScoMo seizes control of Australia


By Houses and Holes

August 24, 2018

It has happened. After years of pulling the strings behind the scenes, the property industry now has direct control of the country.

Property Council alumnus Scott Morrison has been elected as new the Prime Minister of Australia.

God help us all.


IMPORTANT!  READ to find out more!







CITY OF RYDE: Medium Density Housing Code deferred with only a 12 Month Reprieve

Apartments recently built and under construction in Sydney

Medium Density Housing Code deferred with only a 12 Month Reprieve

Published on 09 July 2018

The City of Ryde has commenced proceedings in the Land and Environment Court against the State Government’s Medium Density Housing Code.

As the Minister for Planning, The Hon. Anthony Roberts, stated, the Code was recently deferred for 12 months to allow for “infrastructure in certain areas to catch up”.

Since the announcement was made by the Minister, the City of Ryde has no confidence that State infrastructure will improve to a satisfactory level in the 12 months to 1 July 2019, when the Code is due to take effect in the Ryde Local Government Area.

The City of Ryde is concerned with the impacts that development under the Code will cause to our community and environment.

To assist in addressing residents’ concerns about overdevelopment, the City (with the knowledge of the NSW Government) is undertaking a review of the Ryde Local Environment Plan (LEP), which is due to be completed by July 2020.

The review of the LEP is required to help address monumental growth that has been imposed on our community by the NSW Government.

The City also recently resolved to place a moratorium on new planning proposals involving residential uses until the completion of the new city-wide housing strategy and the Greater Sydney Commission’s infrastructure plan.

The moratorium will prevent developers from rezoning land for additional residential uses while the City undertakes the detailed strategic work required to ensure growth is appropriately located and supported by the necessary infrastructure with assistance from the Greater Sydney Commission.

The City of Ryde believes that it is not logical to implement the Code during the Planning Proposal moratorium period and prior to the review of the LEP concluding.

That is why the City requested the NSW Government to be excluded from the provisions of the Code given these unique circumstances.

The Mayor of the City of Ryde, Jerome Laxale has stated:

“We have had no choice but to commence legal proceedings against this Government to hold them to their promise.

“We were told that the Code needed to be deferred to allow for new infrastructure. It is clear that the deferral is just to get the Government through the next State Election.

“Ryde has been targeted by the State Government and we have had enough. In the last 4 years, 64% of all new dwellings were approved under NSW planning programs.”

“We have 2 State Government priority precincts, an enormous new housing target, and State-stacked planning panels that wave through nearly every development application. Our residents have had a gutful.”



Related News Item    Notices/NSW-Government-defers-new-Housing-Code




READ more to find out how!

RYDE began as the “experiment” by the NSW O’Farrell Government in 2012 for the high-rise Precincts.  A small group were drawn from the community and sworn to secrecy over the North
Ryde Station Precinct.  That was the community consultation!

A cunning plan was devised to occupy residents writing submissions to be ignored!

Now it has emerged with Scomo appointed as Prime Minister that the Property Council is in full control of Australia!

Developers through the FIRB ruling change can sell 100% of new homes to a huge market of foreign buyers; with property purchase these overseas buyers can gain RESIDENCY!   Credit Suisse report revealed that 82% of Chinese pay cash for real estate … with no Anti-Money Laundering Legislation for the Real Estate Sector to prevent this!

It is LNP government policy for high immigration and foreign investment that are at the core of overdevelopment.

There needs to be a community-wide backlash against government policies!


Currently the NSW Government proposes to demolish two Ryde schools, a private school is planned for Macquarie Park, Meadowbank TAFE is under threat, how can Ryde become an educational powerhouse?

It would seem that MP Victor Dominello made this comment with tongue in cheek!  “If you can’t move around in your own neighbourhood, you’ve got a huge problem.”

Ryde residents well understand the impact of overdevelopment in their streets, and that Mayor Laxale’s warning of a bulldozer in every street was no exaggeration with 60% of Ryde’s lots qualifying for duplex and manor house redevelopment!

The LNP obviously concerned about Ryde community backlash suspended new development until a refresh of the LEP … an obvious cynical move. Developers with utter disregard for constituents blame politicians for raising objection to their blatant overdevelopment with “a more urban way of living” because storey upon storey they make a motza … oink oink.

Despite the halt in development approvals Ryde has a fat pipeline of work!

With the Lachlan’s Line development some 13,000 new apartments along with the North Ryde Station Precinct have robbed the community of its commercial precinct … JOBS … for a gated estate!

The NSW Government sold off Our Public Housing at the Ivanhoe Estate to developers for redevelopment of some 3500 units. The tenants communities were torn apart with people far flung.  It is submitted up to 1000 social and 128 affordable rental homes.  How realistic  is this?  2500 units for the wealthy overseas market to gain residency … and a Catholic school how will that help disadvantaged students?

It would appear the North Ryde RSL has become a developer having bought the Eastwood Rugby Club site of 6.5 ha and residents concerns are no doubt well founded and they have started a campaign to save the TG Millner site.

THE DEVELOPER PONZI OF A BIG AUSTRALIA can be stopped in its tracks … everyone should support their local Councillors with the “Save our Streets” campaign; save our Public Schools … fight back!

Tell the lady over the back fence it is the TOXIC POLICIES of the LNP NSW GOVERNMENT!  Not the Council!

OVERDEVELOPMENT fuelled by selling Aussie property overseas … the housing supply cannot meet the foreign demand!

WITH ever more people flying in to reside here Australia will soon become like where they have left!

A glimpse of Big Australia

Ryde is a test site for what urban planners call Australia’s “missing middle”. But as tensions simmer, how many people is too many?



Mammoth: Shepherds Bay development on the Parramatta River
Mammoth: Shepherds Bay development on the Parramatta River

When the City of Ryde cranks up the growth engine, it sucks mobile workers and students, concrete trucks and capital into its king-size belly like a monster ­Hoover.

With block-bright towers rising in plain sight, the scale of change in the sky and on the ground is ­breathtaking, surprising and ­unsettling for these northwest Sydney locals, who feel trapped in their vehicles, squeezed for space and powerless to stop the advance.


Filling in the “missing middle” of our ­metropolises – what some have called “The Great Inversion” of people wanting and needing to be closer to the heart of cities – has become a mission for urbanists, and Ryde is one of their test sites.

This 40sq km hub of commerce, home to 125,000 people, is growing by 2.5 per cent a year, 56 per cent above the national average, propelled by residential construction and immigration.

As Sydney, Melbourne and even Brisbane are discovering, endless sprawl on “greenfield” sites is costly; inner-city “brownfield” regeneration has almost had its day. The vogue approach by state governments is a mix of housing to increase density in middle-ring suburbs, on “greyfield” land. For better or worse, Ryde is the kingdom of middle, the utopia of infill and a laboratory of civic tolerance.

What’s happening in Ryde, as residents seek to preserve its soul and carve out a better future, is a struggle that provides a warning to all communities about planning properly for growth. But it’s also exciting to watch what happens here. If this economic and cultural dynamo in the centre of Sydney can get a few more things right, striking a balance between the interests of the few and the many, we’ll enter a new age of cities that are richer, diverse, creative, connected and sustainable.

A couple of generations ago, this well-established area of backyard treehouses and raucous sulphur-crested cockatoos 12km from the CBD was dotted with market gardens and bushland.

Ryde was “middle”, Anglo, stable and safe, the community that gave the world Granny Smith apples, a home to colonial brewer James Squire and a legion of Tigers’ rugby league stars, and sent John Howard to Canberra 13 times to be its representative.

Yet it’s being shaped by global megatrends – migration, the economic rise of Asia and the ­digital revolution – as much as parish vendettas and opportunism.

Amid all this hyperactivity are three levels of government ­trying to plan, act, delay or stitch up someone else for the growing pains: traffic congestion, queues for public transport, less open space, overcrowded schools and hospitals, more crime and a simmering backlash against migrants.

“Ryde is a community undergoing a trans­formation,” says Victor Dominello, Liberal state member for Ryde and minister for finance, ­services and property.

“It will become an economic and educational powerhouse in the next five years, but we have to make sure it is ­supported [by infrastructure].”

Echoing Premier ­Gladys ­Berejiklian’s buzziest of talking points, he says the key to prospering in the 21st century is connec­tivity. “If you can’t move around in your own neighbourhood, you’ve got a huge problem.”

Occupational therapist Kate Priddle, a mother of two, has lived in Eastwood for eight years. She likes its vibrancy and multiculturalism, but to her mind population, traffic and aggravation have suddenly grown “exponentially”.

“Being in the car is always stressful,” she says of the slow local journey times that cut cruelly into family life. “I feel as if I’m always rushing, chasing my tail.”

Sick of ­battling the traffic, she changed jobs to be at a ­hospital closer to home but getting her son and daughter to activities is a constant battle.

“When is the pace going to slow down?” Priddle says, exasperated. “Are proper plans being put into place to deal with all these growth issues? It seems developers have all the political sway.”

Dominello has sway. He is a vehement critic of residential expansion in the City of Ryde, an area that rises northwards from the muddy banks of the Parramatta River to the plateau of glitzy-glassed business parks of the tech titans, a sort of Silicon Heights in suburbia.

“I’ve got to stand up for my community and put an end to this madness,” says the man with a seat in cabinet and the ear of the Premier, who grew up in North Ryde.

When it comes to halting development, ­Dominello has an ally, of sorts, in mayor Jerome Laxale, the Labor candidate he beat in 2015 and who he will face at the polls in the state election next March.

While the contenders are on a unity ticket for popular preservation causes, they blame each other’s political entities – the council and state government – for supercharging the boom.

The ground war for Ryde is brutal and predictable: two grunting baseliners, slugging it back and forth, firing up over towers, roads and parking lots, disputing every line call. That’s our democracy, to a tee.

In April, the NSW Government announced its missing middle policy: a medium-density housing code that would fast-track the building of terraces and villas on existing blocks. Laxale warned there’d be a bulldozer in every street, as 60 per cent of all land in Ryde qualified under the new zoning; an independent councillor feared the ­disappearance of the “Aussie backyard”.


A month later, state planning minister Anthony Roberts postponed for a year the medium-density code in Ryde and the vast City of Canterbury Bankstown, another growth hotspot. Almost immediately, other Sydney councils, including Lane Cove and Northern Beaches, hit the brakes.


Roberts also suspended new development in Ryde until a refresh of the area’s Local Environmental Plan, which sets out zoning, building heights and densities. “We’ve got to make sure that the ­infrastructure keeps up with housing supply and that’s what we’re doing right here,” Roberts says.

Labor called the pause “cynical”, an election ­rescue plan for Dominello; developers claim the move reeks of former NSW premier Bob Carr’s ancient ­defeatism in alleging “Sydney is full”.

The Urban Taskforce, a developers’ lobby, accused politicians of whipping up Sydney residents’ opposition to new development and then claiming to be acting on the communities’ behalf.

“We need our politicians to champion the evolution of the city into a more urban way of living,” said taskforce CEO Chris Johnson.

Still, even with a halt in development approvals, Ryde has momentum and a fat pipeline of work. It will keep dragging in migrants and construction workers –by 2031, Ryde is expected to have 160,000 residents, 20,000 more than envisaged by planners a few years ago.

Residential and commercial building approvals have climbed from $408 million in 2012-13 to the latest figure of $1.6 billion. Build it, and they will keep coming.

Tobias Lord. Picture : Nick Cubbin
Tobias Lord. Picture : Nick Cubbin

From an eyrie above Top Ryde shopping centre you see spindly construction cranes in all directions; large flocks dipping down like pecking birds on new waterfront apartments at Meadowbank and in bustling Eastwood and North Ryde.

On Ryde’s western ­border, cranes are bunched at Melrose Park, a new suburb; scattered, erect and skyward, along ­Victoria Road and in the south at Gladesville and Putney.

But it’s in the north at Macquarie Park, just next to the university and shopping centre, where a fury of cranes tilt and swing like a dizzy ensemble without a conductor.

Noise and a stop-go rhythm for vehicles are constants near construction sites but the real pain, locals say, hits when the cranes migrate and ­people move in. If you hop on a bus at Top Ryde during the morning peak you’ll be on your feet for the entire 45-minute trip to the CBD, a distance of about 13km. It’s worse in a car. “When it takes an hour to get from one side of the electorate to the other, something’s gone horribly wrong,” says Dominello, inching his way up the hill for half an hour to travel 900m from his home in the ­mammoth Shepherds Bay development on the Parramatta River to Victoria Road.

Laxale chooses the calm between rush hours and 40km/h speed ­limits near schools to scoot around in a white people-mover. We’re heading to ­Macquarie Park, in Laxale’s telling a sort of ­Deadwood of TV fame, lawless and on the make.

“Development here is out of control,” he says, pointing to towers on the major arterial Epping Road. Some 13,000 new apartments have been approved in this strip next to the M2. “This shouldn’t be mixed-use, it’s a commercial precinct and the services aren’t available.”

But hold on, didn’t Laxale back a proposal by Harry Triguboff’s Meriton for a 60-storey tower in this very area? Doesn’t the zoning allow for a ­maximum of 45 storeys? Meriton is proposing four towers, of 27, 30, 45 and 60 storeys – 1256 apartments in total.

To secure the 15 extra floors, the developer has offered to set aside units for affordable housing and funding for a park. The NSW planning department has moved the ­proposal to the consultation phase, but there are several hurdles ahead.

Laxale says the council was “between a rock and a hard place. It’s now up to the community to decide if it likes what Meriton is offering.”

Laxale swings right into a cul-de-sac. Behind fencing covered in NSW’s trademark blue mesh and waratah logo, the nation’s biggest social and affordable housing project is being built. The Ivanhoe Estate will have between 3000 and 3500 units, including up to 1000 social and 128 ­affordable rental homes. It replaces a low-rise estate of 259 homes built in 1990. “They’re ­building a private school here,” Laxale says, ­shaking his head, of the co-ed Catholic academy for 1000 students. “And the government claims this will help disadvantaged kids!”

Enrolments at Ryde’s public schools have grown rapidly this decade, catching Department of Education planners flat-footed.

“People who want to live in high-rise developments actually have kids and want to send them to good schools,” says Rod West, president of the P&C at Eastwood Heights Public School.

He’s watched the school grow from 330 students in 2012 to more than 500 this year.

Six demountable classrooms have eaten up play space. It’s a similar story at other schools in the area. According to the Greater Sydney Commission, by 2036 Ryde will have 8160 more school students; schools will need to become “community hubs”, it says, as land becomes scarce.

Victor Dominello: Picture: Nick Cubbin
Victor Dominello: Picture: Nick Cubbin

The mayor’s tour of sinful planning loops behind Macquarie Uni, dodges the CSIRO’s Astronomy and Space Science HQ and whips past TG Millner Field where, says Laxale, an “emblematic” fight is looming over the home of Eastwood Rugby Club, a 6.5ha site tucked snugly between houses. The North Ryde RSL bought the site last year and, while no plans have been revealed, homeowners fearing more residential development have started a “Save TG Millner” campaign. “Green space is becoming scarce,’’ says Tobias Lord, convenor of the protest group. “Every blade of grass is precious in the area.”

Big Australia, here we come. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the year to last June greater Melbourne’s population grew by 125,000 (2.7 per cent), Sydney’s by 102,000 (2 per cent) and Brisbane’s by 48,000 (2 per cent). ­Immigration is responsible for the growth in ­Sydney and Melbourne; Brisbane’s surge is driven equally by natural increase, settlers from other states and immigrants. By mid-century, it’s expected our population, now rising by one person every 84 seconds, will hit 35 million.

Governments in Australia have been trying to boost housing supply in inner areas through ­“densification”. It’s a catch-up, particularly in ­Sydney, where analysts speak of the “missing 100,000”, the persistent backlog from the mid-2000s when the industry was idling.

In the past decade, the median house price in Sydney has doubled to $1.2 million. If traffic irks the Aussie temper, falling housing affordability tests its soul.

Sitting at an outside table of a cafe along a revived retail strip in West Ryde, Dominello, compact and dapper in a black overcoat, is speaking about a new employment park in this area.

A woman in her 60s introduces herself as a local ­resident; they speak about new high-rises, the “insane” traffic. She asks how new zoning laws, which made national news, will work. With his hands alternating between crane and bulldozer modes, Dominello tells a story about skyrocketing tower heights, thwarted developments and new infrastructure being provided by the government, including the “metrofication” of the northern rail line (part of which will be closed for six months from September). The woman nods, seemingly convinced Ryde needs the development pause, that the council is “toxic” and out of control.

“Yes, and it’s all the immigrants coming here that are making it worse,” the woman says, her eyes soft, more a wistful postscript than a Hanson-like knee to the groin. “Oh, no, I have no problem with them,” Dominello fires back, both hands pushing at the awkward idea now out in the crisp morning air. “It’s not the fault of migrants, let’s not blame them for this. My family migrated here from Italy. The real issue is overdevelopment.”

Before the woman interrupted the interview, Dominello had been talking about the positive changes to Ryde since his forebears arrived in the 1930s to operate a market garden at North Ryde and later a fruit and vegetable shop in Eastwood. “At its core, Ryde is a diverse community – and that’s its strength.”

In Ryde, 52 per cent of people were born overseas; 10 years earlier, the figure was 40 per cent.

Jerome Laxale. Picture: Nick Cubbin
Jerome Laxale. Picture: Nick Cubbin

At the Eastwood night markets on a gloomy Saturday, early evening trade at the food stalls is at a low burn. School coaching colleges have emptied; the Maximum Joy Company dessert bar is already busy at 5pm. There’s an amiable crush of people in the Village Superfresh, specialising in Asian ­vegetables. In Eastwood, 62 per cent of people are overseas-born, mainly from China (25 per cent), Korea (8 per cent) and Hong Kong (5 per cent).

Recently, provocative posters have popped up at bus shelters and light poles on main roads in Ryde. NO MORE ASIANS / IT’S NOT THE FACE OF AUSTRALIA / WE SPEAK ENGLISH and so on in a rambling screed. It’s the fourth time the signs have sprouted. Community leaders think it’s the work of outsiders. Labor councillor Peter Kim, who has Korean ancestry, says anti-migrant sentiment in Ryde is low. Among the older, ­Australian-born constituents Kim encounters in pubs and clubs, “a few people tell me they feel they are being pushed out by recent Asian migrants”.

He listens to their concerns and laments there isn’t more interaction between “Asians and Caucasians”. According to Kim, Ryde’s Asian-Australians are increasingly worried about “the return of the White Australia Policy”. He ­collected 2700 signatures in a fortnight for a ­petition opposing Pauline Hanson’s Citizenship Bill, which included strict English language tests and an eight-year wait to become citizens.

“There’s a bipartisan position in NSW on migration,” says Dominello, days after Labor leader Luke Foley had been excoriated for ­comments about “white flight” in parts of Sydney.

“Both the Premier and Leader of the Opposition have said, ‘We need to be at the table when it comes to ­population policy because we have to provide the schools, roads, rail, hospitals.’ It’s very hard to plan ahead when you don’t have controls over the amount of people coming in.”

After becoming Liberal leader last year, ­Berejiklian made housing affordability her top ­priority. She asked former Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens to be an independent “additional pair of eyes” on the issues. His analysis cut through the debris of vested interests and identified a ­collective community failure, over several ­decades, to be ready for growth.

“The most important thing that the political leadership can do is carry the careful, balanced and realistic conversation about growth and how to accommodate it to the public,” ­Stevens concluded.

In a place like Ryde, the task of leaders is to explain how changed medium-density neighbourhoods could be better than unchanged ones.

Eastwood shops. Picture: Nick Cubbin
Eastwood shops. Picture: Nick Cubbin

Ryde’s problems have been a joint enterprise. To address Sydney’s growth pains, leaders such as Berejiklian and Foley, Dominello and Laxale – rivals who don’t speak but bicker through multiple channels – have to work together and speak to a higher purpose.

Councils around the state and nation need to stick to long-range plans; infrastructure spending by federal and state authorities has to be based on proper assessments of need within a broader timeframe.

Targets for infrastructure and housing delivery, as Stevens stated, show governments are serious and provide a frame for an ongoing story.

What could the story be for Ryde? Dominello sees an economic powerhouse, stronger through cultural diversity, connected to the world.

Laxale dreams of creating “a city where, from cradle to grave, you can be local and stay local”.

Both visions fit within the 40-year narrative devised by the Greater Sydney Commission of three connected cities – Eastern (around Sydney CBD), Central (Greater Parramatta) and Western (around the new airport) – consisting of hubs, so people need to travel no more than 30 minutes for work, ­education or services.

But that can only happen if the workload is shared and a plan adhered to within the messy, willing politics of dozens of communities. No more sweet deals, no surprise freezes; fill the gaps, keep believing and investing in the ­creative might and social harmony of our ­gigantic, people-­powered engines.


THE URBAN DEVELOPER: The Medium Density Development Round-Up: Sydney

DEVELOPER TALK that Australian city dwellers are embracing apartment and townhouse living … when even as far back as 2011 buyers found they had little if any choice!
In 2018 a suburban revolt against the NSW Government’s medium density code gathered pace with a number of councils granted a 12 month delay on the new rules …
It would seem the NSW Government complied due to the looming March 2019 Election!

DESPITE this the Urban Developer can reveal here five low-rise medium density residential projects that have recently entered planning assessment in Sydney!

WHAT this sort of development amounts to is more congestion on our roads because where, for example, there was one cottage on a lot there are to be some 10 up to 35 dwellings.

Currently many of our schools are full-up with demountables covering the playgrounds, trains and buses are full-up, all our infrastructure is taxed to the max!

THE PONZI continues … this is not about “affordable housing” for Australians … this is about flogging off more development overseas … agents are not only set up in China but across Asia in Indonesia, India, Thailand, Vietnam …


The developer lobby … the Property Council of Australia and Urban Taskforce have had an ally in the former Treasurer Scomo who wrote policy for the PCA before joining politics, and now the Property Council’s SCOMO has seized control of Australia!


The Medium Density Development Round-Up: Sydney

Australia’s city dwellers are increasingly embracing apartment and townhouse living.

And developers are getting in on the act, with the volume of medium-density site sales last year increasing more than 10 per cent (about $1 billion) since 2013.

We often cover significant, high-density projects here at The Urban Developer, and can miss the smaller, low-rise development projects that are so crucial to the good development of our urban environments.

Here’s five low-rise medium-density residential projects that have recently entered planning assessment in Sydney.

Related: The Shortlist: Seven Of The Best Medium-Density Residential Projects in Australia

1. 12 Coonanbarra Road, Wahroonga


Developers Barua Group’s 5-storey, 12-apartment project in Wahroonga.

Architects Fox Johnston together with developers Barua Group have proposed a 12 unit residential flat with a communal rooftop terrace in Wahroonga.The $7 million project is spread over four levels, each of which contains three 3-bedroom apartments.

Each unit will benefit from at least two hours access to solar energy each day and all are 100 per cent cross ventilated.

The development is walking distance to Wahroonga Railway Station and only 100 meters from bus stops along the Pacific Highway.

2. 658-660 Botany Road, Alexandria

658-660 Botany Road, Alexandria

Architect Environa Studio are responsible for the design of this 30-apartment example of medium-density development in Alexandria.

Also known as 11 Birmingham Street, 658-660 Botany Road in Alexandria is designed by Environa Studio.The proposal for a 6-storey mixed-use building includes ground floor retail on Birmingham Street and commercial tenancies fronting Botany Road.

The $10 million project will create 30 residential units along with 28 parking spaces at a new basements and ground floor level.

3. 702-710 Botany Road, Mascot

702-710 Botany Road, Mascot

AGM Studio designed this 35-apartment low-rise apartment block in Sydney’s Mascot.


AGM Studio’s Botany Road development in Mascot was submitted at the end of July.

The $10 million project will build a five-storey mixed-use development with four retail tenancies fronting Botany Road, a communal garden.

A total of 35 residential units will be created with on level basement parking with access from Miles Street.

4. 1 Lorne Avenue, Killara

1 Lorne Avenue, Killara

RJK Architect’s 10-dwelling low-rise apartment project in Killara.


RJK Architects have proposed a 3-storey development that will create a total of ten apartments.

The proposed building will also have communal areas and one level of basement parking with 16 spaces.

The new development will be wheelchair friendly with all proposed units having 100 per cent accessibility with lifts and access corridors.

The development is situated 400 meters from the Killara Railway Station.

This development will require the demolition of the existing two-storey dwelling and swimming pool.

5. 117 Alison Road, Randwick

117 Alison Road, Randwick

Mark Shapiro Design’s 24-dwelling boarding house in Randwick.

Mark Shapiro Design have submitted a 3-storey boarding house proposal in Randwick.The $3 million development will include 24 boarding rooms, offices, communal rooms, 4 car park spaces, 5 motorcycle spaces, bicycle storage and communal outdoor area.

The site neighbours The University of New South Wales and the Prince of Wales Hospital, local shopping centres, and the light rail which is under construction.

Main image: Smart Design Studio’s “Pipi” in Bondi.