BOARDING HOUSES

Monday, 02 June 2014

Today I speak about an important issue not only for my electorate but also for electorates across Sydney: inappropriate overdevelopment and, more importantly, boarding houses. I have a long and proud history of fighting against inappropriate overdevelopment, having served as a councillor on Kogarah City Council for over eight years and now as a State member of Parliament for the Oatley electorate. This week the Land and Environment Court approved a boarding house development application at 14 Cook Street, Mortdale. I do not support the construction of boarding houses in Mortdale or any part of my electorate. Many local residents have expressed concerns regarding this proposed project, particularly given that the area comprises mostly one- and two-storey single brick homes. The Affordable Housing Act was implemented under the previous Labor Government and planning Minister Frank Sartor and enabled boarding houses to be built 800 metres in walking distance of a public entrance of a railway station.

My electorate has seven railway stations: Hurstville, Penshurst, Mortdale, Oatley, Beverly Hills, Narwee and Riverwood. The Act also enables boarding houses to be built near—400 metres to be exact—a major road, bus stop or bus interchange. My electorate's major roads are Forest Road, Railway Parade, Morts Road, Penshurst Street, Belmore Road, Stoney Creek Road, Hillcrest Avenue and Rosa Street, to name a few, not to mention the bus services. About two-thirds of the Oatley electorate map would be highlighted as affected areas under the provisions of the relevant Act. The Act also allows boarding houses to be built without consideration of parking requirements or the potential impact on the amenity of the local area. If it did, this development application at 14 Cook Street, Mortdale, would have been rejected by the Land and Environment Court. This process needs to stop now. We do not need this inappropriate overdevelopment in residential areas; it can ruin the village atmosphere of our local suburbs.

Previously, I wrote to Hurstville City Council and the previous Minister for Planning demanding something be done immediately. I congratulate the council on its action, particularly mayor Jack Jacovou, councillor Con Hindi and General Manager Victor Lampe, and on taking up this issue with the Department of Planning. I have written to the newly appointed Minister for Planning, the Hon. Pru Goward, requesting that her department continue working with Hurstville City Council to ensure limitations and restrictions apply to prevent the building of boarding houses. If necessary, restricting them to just the Hurstville central business district would be a satisfactory compromise. We need to save our streets and suburbs from inappropriate overdevelopment. I ask the department to continue to work with local residents and council to ensure this issue is stopped as soon as possible. Already, Hurstville City Council has rejected a number of applications for boarding houses in areas such as Peakhurst and Narwee, and I support it in taking that step. My message is simple: we do not want this inappropriate overdevelopment in our backyard. Enough is enough.