21 November 2011 – THE NSW government may be about to merge Landcom and the Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority.

The move may create a body similar to the  successful Victorian development authority, now known as Places Victoria, formerly VicUrban.  (See our interview  on its new chairman Peter Clarke last week.)

The NSW Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, told Fairfax newspapers on Monday  that  such a body could help with the delivery of new housing developments.

”The concept of a dedicated housing delivery agency has been very successfully used in Victoria and the government is looking at all options at the moment,” he said in the report.

”There’s a great deal of talent in the SMDA and Landcom and we are looking at both organisations to see how that expertise can best be employed for the delivery of new housing opportunities.”

The Urban Development Institute of Australia had called for the amalgamation of the two bodies and said NSW was the only state without an authority responsible for land assembly.

“It wants the government to pass laws to give a new authority powers to amalgamate disparate blocks of land in parts of Sydney deemed suitable for large-scale housing and then sell these blocks to developers,” the report said.

“Faced with historically low levels of housing construction, the former Labor government established the SMDA to identify and plan new housing developments although it has since been restricted to projects in Redfern/Waterloo and Granville.”