Lucy Turnbull

Lucy Turnbull has been appointed chief commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, NSW’s new metropolitan planning body. She joins BASIX architect Rod Simpson as environment commissioner, Heather Nesbitt as social commissioner and Geoff Roberts as economic commissioner.

“The new commissioners are renowned experts in their fields,” Planning Minister Rob Stokes said. “I look forward to working with them in partnership with the community to ensure that, as Sydney gets bigger, it is also a better place to live.”

Ms Turnbull was widely considered the government’s first choice for the head position, which will report directly to the NSW Planning Minister.

She is a former lord mayor of Sydney and current chair of the think tank Committee for Sydney, which calls itself a “champion for the whole of Sydney”.

Ms Turnbull this year attracted criticism when she contradicted and withdrew statements regarding the WestConnex toll road made by Committee for Sydney chief executive Tim Williams.

“I’ve never met someone more passionate about Sydney than Lucy,” Mr Stokes said. “She will lead the Commission and be tasked with better coordinating delivery of the homes and jobs we need, as well as access to outdoor space and liveable communities.”

Rod Simpson, who is regarded as instrumental to the formation of NSW’s building sustainability index, BASIX, will become environment commissioner.

Mr Simpson is currently director of the Urban Design and Master of Urbanism Programs at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. He is also principal of simpson+wilson, an architecture, urban design and strategic planning practice. He led the urban design and spatial planning for the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, and also worked with Kinesis on the development of a precinct wide sustainability assessment tool for Landcom, PRECINX, which has received both state and national planning awards.

Heather Nesbitt, currently with GHD, will become social commissioner. Ms Nesbitt has over 30 years’ experience in social sustainability, social housing, community infrastructure planning and social impact assessment. She has primarily worked on major greenfield and urban renewal projects, including public/social housing for government, non-profit and the private sector.

Geoff Roberts, currently adjunct professor at the University of NSW’s City Futures Research Centre, will become economic commissioner. Mr Roberts has 35 years’ experience in city strategy, governance and leadership, and is a highly regarded strategic advisor to a number of public and private sector organisations.

Mr Stokes said he was “excited that we have been able to attract people of the calibre of Heather Nesbitt, Rod Simpson and Geoff Roberts to the Commission”.

The Greater Sydney Commission will develop and implement district plans, determining regionally significant development applications, and will act as the decision maker on rezoning proposals currently undertaken by Mr Stokes.