Quentin Dempster preparing for his 7.30 report on Parramatta Road

15 June 2012  – ABC’s Quentin Dempster in his current affairs program 7.30 will tonight (Friday) will feature plans to turn Sydney’s clogged and down-at-heel Parramatta Road into a vibrant urban growth corridor, after hosting an Urban Task Force breakfast on the subject on Thursday.

Highlighted in the promotion for the program will be coverage of a detailed strategic plan for the road prepared in 2002 by a consortium including architect Adrian McGregor, architect John Choi, and then inexplicably shelved.

The Urban Task Force chief executive officer Chris Johnson introduced concepts to revitalise the road based on plans worked up by architects for developers who own land along the 23 kilometre route.

Michael Eason on screen at the Urban Task Force breakfast to discuss Parramatta Road plans

These include a mixed use corridor with 100,000 new apartments and 100,000 new jobs over the next 25 years. The plans would transform the area into “an exciting precinct with high and medium density development that would leave the surrounding low density suburban areas untouched,” Task Force chief executive officer Chris Johnson said.

Adrian McGregor said in an article published by The Fifth Estate earlier this week, that his consortium had produced a detailed 200 report completed over a year of work that included consultation with 11 local councils, community groups and included economic analysis by Hill PDA.

The plan he said, estimated an extra 250,000 people could be housed along the route, economic benefits of $50 billion in construction and $100 billion in development and could produce $4 billion in value uplift capture to fund public infrastructure such as metro, light rail, creek restoration and new parklands through a new development authority.

“Additionally 10,000 construction worker jobs per annum would be created for 30 years, 185,000 new long-term jobs and $10-12 billion in net GST revenue benefits would flow to the Federal Government with $5 billion in stamp duties to the state government.

Adrian McGregor

Dempster’s interest and the high profile breakfast  attended by developers, politicians, land owners and architects could finally kick start a reprieve for the stretch of road.

But he didn’t mince words about the difficulty of winning public support for any major urban development project.

“The development industry has got a big problem in winning back public support,” Dempster said.

“We’re starting to see the O’Farrell government do something – amendments to the planning Act. I could not understand why Brad Hazzard did not have his legislation ready to go; they knew they were going to win.

The new Urbangrowth NSW was flagged as potentially useful agency to handle the development.

Speakers included Matthew Pullinger  NSW president, Australian Institute of Architects, Michael Eason, executive chairman EG Property Group and Angelo Tsirekas,  Canada Bay Mayor.