Major Eveleigh rezoning included in wave of new housing across Sydney

Major Eveleigh rezoning included in wave of new housing across Sydney
Image: NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts (right) announced rezoning of 10 key Sydney locations for housing. Photo: Facebook/Anthony Roberts.


The NSW government has announced they will be taking over 10 land rezonings under the Rezoning Pathways Program, with the hope for the key Sydney areas to be rezoned by 2024. The program is designed to bring mass amounts of housing in what the government is calling “strategically important rezonings” to support home ownership across the city. 

Whilst a majority of the land rezonings are in Western Sydney, Explorer Street in Eveleigh is included in the 10 rezonings initiated by the NSW government. 

“Working with councils, rezoning is one important lever that we are pulling to get the ball rolling on more housing supply across our state,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said. 

“We are throwing everything at getting more houses built so more people get keys in doors and can realise their dream of owning a home.” 

Map of the planned renewal of public housing in Explorer Street. Eveleigh. Photo: DPIE.

While the rezonings do not fall under the category of ‘state significant precincts’ (SSP), the NSW government is taking the wheel for all decisions. The Rezoning Pathways Program will include “State Led Rezoning” in which the government leads planning decisions in areas of “state significance”, independent of council.

Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts said that the Rezoning Pathways Program, that is part of the Government’s larger $2.8 billion Housing Package will accelerate the rezoning process “to make more land development-ready for new homes”. 

The news has been met with trepidation by community group, REDWatch, with a spokesperson telling City Hub that, “REDWatch has had major problems on sites where the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) are controlling the rezoning.” 

In 2020 the NSW Government announced plans to rezone Explorer Street in Eveleigh, including the redevelopment of the social housing estate. The Explorer Street social housing is located just south of Macdonaldtown Station, and just across the tracks from the massive Redfern North Eveleigh redevelopment which was been approved by the state government in 2022.

The government planned to redevelop 46 social housing units into 430 predominantly high-density housing units.

Residents campaigned vocally against the proposal through 2020 and 2021. Plans for the government to privatise a large percentage of the housing in the redevelopment were criticised by community members and Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong.

Speakers at a rally to save the public housing on Explorer Street in South Eveleigh 2021. Photo: Allison Hore

“We need to ask why the NSW Liberal National government is still selling us all short by planning to privatise 70% of these redevelopments which are on valuable public land” Leong said in 2021.

Waterloo rezoning example

REDWatch referred to previous major rezoning projects handled by the state government, such as the redevelopment of the Waterloo Estate social housing blocks, when speaking with City Hub about the recent rezonings.

“In Waterloo, the rezoning was taken over by a team within the State Significant Development Application assessment section of DPE. Being the Planning Proposal Authority was not their main job and they did not have the experience and expertise to deal with the community.” 

The Waterloo rezoning is classified as a State Significant Precinct. Processes for SSPs begin with the Minister for Planning approving a location nomination sent by an applicant to the Department of Planning and Environment. Scoping is carried out by the DPIE and “relevant agencies” and a State Significant Precinct study is prepared, and place on public exhibition for a minimum of 30 days.

The submissions are assessed and the applicant prepares a response. The final decision for approval lies in the hands of the Planning Minister.

Artists impression of the Waterloo Metro Quarter. Photo: Mirvac.

According to REDWatch, submissions from individuals and organisations regarding a massive rezoning in Waterloo were handled differently to Government and Council submissions, and were not adequately assessed. 

“Tenants complained to the Minister after the Response to Submissions came out that the department did not do what they told tenants they would do – make a records of what they heard and say why or why not they would do it. While this is how DPE handled Government and Council submissions, individuals and organisations were passed to a consultant to summarise into broad headings and to then respond to those broad headings,” the REDWatch spokesperson said. 

“For rezoning on land where there is an already existing community you have to run a very different process to the usual rezoning of industrial land that does not have a residential population.”  

REDWatch is adamant that local council would be better equipped to manage the rezoning.  

“The state government look at sites in isolation and not in the context of the surrounding communities and wider City planning. The City of Sydney has one of the best resourced Planning Departments in Australia and it has the skills to undertake rezoning in a manner that delivers the growth required by the State Government but in a way that better fits with the surrounding areas.” 

REDWatch questioned why Explorer Street, Eveleigh was even included in the Rezoning Pathways Program to begin with. 

“Interestingly the Eveleigh site announced as having 430 dwellings including up to 120 social houses, would not meet the criteria for the new state government planning pathway the media release announced as it is under the threshold for ‘proponents proposing more than 1,000 homes in metropolitan areas’.”

The REDWatch spokesperson told City Hub, “by throwing Eveleigh in with the other sites LAHC can put its own plan up without having to worry about Council modifying it”. 


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