Attachment 1.Maitland City Council Submission – draft Hunter Regional Plan anddraft Plan for Growing Hunter City – March 2016Executive summaryCouncil welcomes the release of both the draft Hunter Regional Plan as well as the companiondocument being the draft Plan for Growing Hunter City. The release of an up-dated strategicframework for the region is considered overdue. Council notes and supports a number of importantcommitments to the Hunter Region by the NSW Government. A number of these commitmentshowever have resource implications for councils and this consideration needs to be included in afuture implementation plan.There is also a large number of recommendations and proposed actions in the draft Plans. It isrecommended that these actions are prioritised in the final Plans and that the timeframe andfunding sources for their implementation is clearly outlined in the annual reporting process.It is noted that the Maitland City Council area is largely included within the boundary of the HunterCity. Adjoining areas to the north, west and south of the Hunter City are identified as part of theHunter City hinterland. This includes centres such as Kurri Kurri, Heddon Greta, Greta and Branxton.The Hunter Expressway is also included in the hinterland.However, it is considered important to recognise the importance and impact of the HunterExpressway. It would be appropriate to consider the inclusion of the Expressway and adjacent urbanareas in the Hunter City rather than as part of the “hinterland”. This includes areas associated withthe corridor of development from Maitland to Kurri Kurri as well as the Hunter Expressway and westto Branxton. It is requested that further discussions on this matter be held with the Department ofEnvironment and Planning, Cessnock City Council and Maitland City Council prior to finalisation ofthe Plans.The need to recognize the impact and role of the Hunter Expressway in supporting newdevelopment in the Hunter Region needs to be addressed in the final Plans. The Hunter Expresswayhas significant impacts on land use planning and future travel patterns in the Maitland LGA. Thisincludes the Gillieston Heights urban release area currently being considered by the Department fora gateway determination.Council supports the Hunter City concept in principle for regional planning purposes, however it isimportant to note and retain the historical identity of different cities and localities such as Maitlandwithin Hunter City.Council also considers that there is merit in renaming the Hunter City to another name such as theHunter Metropolitan Area. While the area may generally be considered as one urban area, the latterterm gives greater recognition of the different cities and localities that exist within the Hunter City ascurrently defined in the draft plans.1

Identifying the need for the coordinated and adequate funding of infrastructure to support futuregrowth through a new system of State Infrastructure Contributions is supported, however there isuncertainty as to whether this will result in the timely delivery of infrastructure for existing urbanrelease areas where current shortfalls exist, including at Thornton North, Lochinvar, Farley andGillieston Heights.There is currently a shortfall in infrastructure provision which is not matching the existing highpopulation growth in the City. The existing Council budget and developer contributions are notkeeping pace with the infrastructure needs of a growing population in some areas. Council recentlysubmitted an application for funding under the Local Infrastructure Growth Scheme to supplementinfrastructure provision in Thornton North due to a shortfall in Section 94 contributions.The recommendation to prepare an integrated housing strategy and urban development programfor Hunter City is supported, however it is important that relevant councils are closely involved withthis initiative.Council would like to see a similar hierarchy of centres identified in the draft Hunter Regional andHunter City Plans that was included in the 2006 Lower Hunter Regional Strategy. For example, thiswill provide the necessary support to ensure that Central Maitland remains the primary commercialcentre in the Maitland LGA. It is not regarded as appropriate to have both Central Maitland andGreen Hills/Metford identified at the same level in the regional hierarchy (ie regional centres).The draft Plans identify there is significant flood risk for Central Maitland and that future potentialresidential growth is limited. The Council submission states that there needs to be continuedsupport for future suitable residential development in Central Maitland, as previously identified inthe Lower Hunter Regional Strategy and Council’s Central Maitland Structure Plan. New residentialdevelopment appropriate to the flood risk and consistent with the Floodplain Development Manualis supported by Council. If additional flood mitigation infrastructure is required for Central Maitland,this should include consideration of potential flood evacuation options and be included as part ofthe proposed Maitland land use and infrastructure strategy.The Council submission also notes that greater focus and detail needs to be given to environmentalprotection in the draft Plans, including recognition of local habitat and vegetation corridors.Council would also like further information about the proposed management plan to be developedfor an identified national pinch point at Beresfield and Woodberry where a number of transportinfrastructure and environmental corridors are located in close proximity.Council is supportive of the proposed governance arrangement for the Plans, but is seeking furtherdetail about the proposed arrangements and the implications for local government involvement. Itis understood that the final Plan will be overseen by a Coordinating and Monitoring Committeecomprising representatives of the NSW Government agencies and councils across the Hunter region.It is also understood that implementation will be the responsibility of the NSW Government, the 11local councils and the associated Hunter Pilot Joint Organisation.2

Further specific information on the roles that councils will play in the proposed governance andimplementation arrangements is requested to be provided in the final Plan. It is requested that thereis further consultation with councils prior to finalisation of governance arrangements for the Plans.Implementation of the Plan will require adequate resourcing being available at both State and locallevels to effectively implement the range of actions contained in the Plans. As well as providingfunding for the provision of adequate infrastructure to support future development, funding is alsorequired for the necessary studies and investigations identified in the Plans.Background comments – growth in Maitland City Council areaMaitland City Council area is located in a centrally strategic location in the Hunter Region. MaitlandCity has an annual growth rate of 2.1% with an estimated resident population at 75,170 (ABS est.resident population 2014). The Maitland Urban Settlement Strategy (MUSS) provides a broaddirection for future urban growth in the Maitland LGA. This Strategy makes provision for on-goingpopulation growth in the City over the next 15-25 years. The Strategy nominates a medium growthrate of 2% per annum for the Maitland LGA, with the population at this rate estimated by the NSWGovernment to be 100,500 by 2031.Strong population growth in the City as a result of continuing greenfield urban release area andurban infill development around existing centres are resulting in on-going development pressuresacross the City for both additional residential and employment lands. The main centres nominatedfor future growth and development include Central Maitland, East Maitland, Thornton andLochinvar. There is also a significant expansion of the Green Hills shopping centre currentlyunderway.Recent development trends indicate that the proportion of infill development to greenfielddevelopment is increasing. While over 80% of current urban development occurring within the LGAis in greenfield developments, the MUSS aims to increase the amount of development in centres andurban infill as a proportion of total development to 25%. The average proportion of infill togreenfield development has been 17% over the last five years.Development trends also indicate that the proportion of medium density to total development isalso increasing. Approximately 19% of total development comprised medium density and dualoccupancy developments in the period 2001 to 2015.There is also a good supply of employment lands in the City, with the MUSS Annual Reportidentifying a total of 30 years supply. In particular there is a large stock of employment land nearthe Rutherford airport. This land is well located with good potential links to both the New EnglandHighway and the Hunter railway line. A State significant development project application has beenrecently lodged with the Department of Environment and Planning for an rail intermodal terminalfacility and business park at Rutherford. This project if it proceeds could be a significant furthercatalyst to future economic development in the City.Council is committed to facilitating local economic development and job creation opportunitieswithin the LGA and is currently preparing an economic development strategy.3

DRAFT HUNTER REGIONAL PLANIt is noted that the draft Hunter Regional plan has four overall goals: Grow Australia’s next major city – Hunter CityGrow the largest regional economy in AustraliaProtect and connect natural environmentsSupport robust regional communitiesThe overall direction of the Hunter Regional Plan is supported. These actions include a focus onbetter co-ordination of planning with infrastructure provision across the region. Particular support isgiven for initiatives to reduce land-use conflicts between mining, urban and rural uses and todevelop an integrated housing strategy for Hunter City.Proposed actions to protect and enhance the environmental values of the region are also supported,including improving the access and quality of information and to identify priority investment withinregional habitat corridors and preparation of local strategies to protect these corridors.The concept of Hunter City for regional planning purposes is also broadly supported, however it isnoted that further comments about the name “Hunter City”, recognition of the differentcommunities within Hunter City, as well as comments about the proposed boundary of the HunterCity, are outlined in greater detail below.There are other initiatives that are also strongly supported, such as the initiative to establish aHunter Urban Development Program which will monitor housing and employment land supply anddelivery.Further specific comments about the draft Hunter Regional Plan include the following:Action 1.1.1 of the Hunter Regional Plan, Principle 3: “Protect the environment and respond toclimate change impacts” does not provide definitive environmental actions to meet the principle.Mapping: Maitland’s natural resources are not identified in either the Hunter City Plan or the HunterRegional Plan including the SEPP 14 Woodberry Wetland and other important water bodies such asWentworth Swamp, Tenambit Wetlands or the recognition of the length of the estuary extending toOakhampton. There is no recognition of Council policy, the Greening Plan or Council’senvironmental mapping.Previous regional plans have identified urban growth areas with limited recognition of the naturalresources affected by the decisions and directed development values towards the environment at alocal level. By noting an area of urban growth and predestined corridors it is assumed that the localenvironment is sacrificed to be cleared for development and causes unnecessary argument at theplanning stage. With the exception of the Wallsend-Minmi Corridor, it is noted that the draft HunterRegional Plan has not identified any potential future urban release areas. Further comments aremade on this issue under the comments on the draft Plan for Growing Hunter City.4

Figure 12 of the Hunter Regional Plan provides for “focus areas for sustaining regional habitatconnectivity”. Further information is required on how the “focus area for conservation planning”,which includes Maitland, enhances habitat through “enhanced connectivity through delivery ofurban and transport infrastructure”.Direction 3.2 of the Hunter Regional Plan suggests that as the region grows, coastal areas such asLake Macquarie, Hunter River Estuary, Port Stephens Estuary, Wallis Lake estuary and the Hunter’sadjacent marine waters will need to be protected. It is considered that specific actions to addressthis issue should be part of the plan now as the areas are already under threat. Action 3.2.2 makesreference to the Hunter Estuary Management Plan- this was 2009 not 2008.Action 4.1.2 “Manage the supply of housing in rural areas to protect social, environmental andeconomic values” appears to refer to areas outside the “Hunter City” area. The Hunter City area alsohas rural areas which should also be recognised in the plans. Council is currently reviewing the 2005Rural Lands Strategy.In both the Hunter City Plan and the Hunter Regional Plan there appears to be a limited focus onprotection and connection of natural areas for the Hunter City area, where as the environmentalprotection should be region wide and not isolated to certain areas.Council considers that understanding of the Plans would benefit from the background studies andinvestigations that have been prepared to inform the Plans being made publically available. Forexample, the SGS Housing and Feasibility Studies that were undertaken in 2013 appear to containsome very useful information, however it is not clear whether this information was used in thepreparation of the draft Plan.The Hunter Reg