Say NO to NSW Government

Send your submission HERE by deadline Friday 23 February, 2024

Ideas to help you send your submission:

The NSW Minns Government planning ‘reforms’:

  • are grossly UNDEMOCRATIC.

  • are flawed. They undermine the integrity of the entire NSW PLANNING system and will lead to planning chaos.

  • will destroy the character, heritage and environment of Sydney’s diverse suburbs with a “one size fits all policy”.

  • fails to consider local amenity impacts, including overshadowing, loss of privacy, loss of scenic views, loss of streetscape.

  • fail to ensure good quality and good designed apartment buildings.
  • put the interests of property developers before the COMMUNITY.

  • will allow super windfall rezoning profits to be ‘gifted’ to property developers.

  • will not address the housing affordability crisis.

  • will open the NSW planning system to “corruption risk” with the introduction of the ‘non-refusal standards’ (including money-laundering).

  • deny natural justice for those residents living within a  Transport Oriented Development (TOD) with no opportunity to object.  

  • deny natural justice for those residents living across Sydney with the introduction of the Changes to create low and mid-rise housing occurring just before the Christmas, New Year and school holidays.

  • lack transparency and accountability. The Minns Government refuses to release the “Cabinet in confidence“ evidence justifying why Roseville, Lindfield, Killara and Gordon had the necessary infrastructure to take further density.   the TOD to be introduced 400 metres surrounding Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Gordon Railway Stations can take the increase in density.

  • are environmentally irresponsible when Sydney’s natural ENVIRONMENT is under severe with the escalating threats of climate and biodiversity extinction.

  • fail to acknowledge Sydney’s environment interconnections. Ku-ring-gai is the lungs of Sydney. What happens to Ku-ring-gai’s trees will impact on Western Sydney’s, Northern Beaches, Sydney Harbour’s and the Hawkesbury River’s environmental health.

  • will devastate Ku-ring-gai’s natural environment with the overriding of existing Council protections including Tree & Vegetation Development Control Plan (DCP), Urban Forest Policy, Threatened Species Community.
  • Fail to acknowledge Ku-ring-gai as an environmentally sensitive area.  

  • Fail to acknowledge Ku-ring-gai’s Aboriginal heritage that is a local government area that has one of the most significant Aboriginal sites in Sydney.

  • will push Ku-ring-gai’s Critically Endangered Ecological Communities (Blue Gum High Forest, Sydney Turpentine Ironbark and Duffys Forest) and its wildlife and birdlife to extinction (Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act).

  • will destroy Ku-ring-gai’s tree canopy. Already Ku-ring-gai’s tree canopy is under serious threat with an 8-9% slash in tree canopy cover. The NSW Housing Strategy will accelerate this destruction. It will destroy the vital wildlife corridor/national park railway line ridge.

  • will have an adverse impact on Lane Cove National Park, Garigal National Park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. As well the integrity of the remaining pockets of intact Blue Gum High Forest at the Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve (St Ives), Sheldon Forest (Turramurra) will be placed under pressure. Other bushland reserves include Ku-ring-gai Flying-Fox Reserve (within 400 metres of Gordon Railway Station), Granny Springs Reserve (Turramurra), Swain Garden, Seven Little Australians Park.

  • ignores Ku-ring-gai’s geography. geology and climate. Ku-ring-gai suburbs are located on a thin ‘railway line’ ridge that climbs to about 200 metres and has the highest rainfall in Sydney. There are many creeks running from this ridge east and west, flowing down into either the Lane Cove, Garigal or Ku-ring-gai National Parks. The canopy trees, bushland reserves, gardens are environmentally critical to the survival of these national parks. The NSW housing policies will lead to more intensive hard surfaces.  During high rainfall events this will lead to flash flooding, with pollutants, rubbish and weeds being flushed into the National Parks.
  • will result in wildlife extinction. Ku-ring-gai has more native species than the entire United Kingdom. Ku-ring-gai is a hot bed of biological diversity that supports over 800 native plants, 170 fungi and 690 fauna species (including the threatened species – Grey-Headed Flying Fox and Powerful Owl.

  • ignores the evidence that Ku-ring-gai is one of Sydney’s most ecologically sensitive places.

  • Fail to provide an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regarding the  multiple rezonings since 2004 when the last major rezonings occurred as LEP 194.

  • will demolish Ku-ring-gai’s hard won HERITAGE Conservation Areas that includes the nation’s best 20th Century domestic architecture.

  • fail to acknowledge and respect the character, heritage and environment of a local area. They are blunt, one-size-fits all changes that will irreversibly destroy a community’s liveability, character, heritage and the environment.

  • abrogate NSW’s obligations to protect individual heritage items (eg Eryldene)  and Heritage Conservation Areas . If allowed it means that heritage protection will be extinguished across NSW.

  • will destroy Ku-ring-gai’s heritage where the ‘natural dominates the built form’. Ku-ring-gai’s garden and bushland suburbs will be demolished and replaced with hard surface concrete.

  • fails to recognise Ku-ring-gai’s significance to the Australia’s cultural, natural and environmental pioneer history. Ku-ring-gai is the birthplace of the modern Australian environment movement with environmental pioneers such as Annie Wyatt (founder of the National Trust of Australia), Charles Bean, Eccleston du Faur, Alex Colley, Paddy Pallin.

  • will overwhelm existing ageing INFRASTRUCTRE for stormwater, sewerage and drinking water, train carrying capacity.

  • fails to address the risks that Ku-ring-gai faces from climate fueled bushfires, wild storms and flash flooding.
  • will cause continual traffic congestion chaos. Ku-ring-gai has limited access roads to the Pacific Highway. In an emergency how will the ambulance get to the hospital? Streets will be impassible with additional carparking.

  • are silent on controls to ensure new multistorey developments have net zero emissions with roof top solar and community batteries for the high energy required for lifts and air conditioning.

  • fail to provide the funds to purchase additional land for more parks, playgrounds, green spaces, sporting fields, swimming pools as well as services such as schools, hospitals, libraries and community and recreational facilities.

  • fail to acknowledge that over the past 20+ years, Ku-ring-gai Council’s attempts to strengthen the protection of Ku-ring-gai’s heritage and the environment have been ignored, denied or delayed by the NSW Planning Department (eg 10/50 vegetation clearing rule). Concurrently environment, heritage and local government powers have been significantly weakened. It is time to strengthen urban environmental protections – not extinguish them.


“You have something special here in Ku-ring-gai. Fight for it.” – Tom Uren

Ku-ring-gai is about to be destroyed.

It is now time for residents to fight for Ku-ring-gai.

The NSW Government is planning to destroy Ku-ring-gai – its tree canopy, its heritage homes and its character.

IT IS IMPORTANT for residents to:

a) complete a Ku-ring-gai Council online survey about their say on the planning changes

b) send feedback to the State Government’s planning department here.


The NSW Government proposes dual occupancies in low density residential zones on block sizes of 450sqm. A block of 900 sqm will allow four homes to be built on it.

The NSW Government’s blanket zonings will allow terraces, townhouses, manor houses (two storey apartment blocks) and 6 to 7 storey mid-rise apartment blocks to be built within walking distance of railway stations. Possibly too for Ku-ring-gai’s local centres – East Killara, East Lindfield, West Gordon, West Pymble, West Lindfield, South Turramurra, North Turramurra?

Ku-ring-gai’s future will be dramatically different – traffic congestion, high rise with the removal of thousands of trees. Heat stress turbocharged. Wildlife extinguished. Heritage erased.

In April 2024 the NSW Government plans to implement ‘Transport Oriented Development’ (TOD).

TOD allows blanket 6 to 7 storey unit developments within 400m of the Roseville, Lindfield, Killara and Gordon railway stations. Eight to nine storeys will be allowed if developers provide “affordable housing”.

Heritage Conservation Areas WILL NOT BE PROTECTED.

The NSW Government has indicated it will NOT CONSULT Ku-ring-gai residents over its TOD high rise rezoning changes.

For more information see Ku-ring-gai Council: ‘Proposed changes to NSW housing policy and its impacts on Ku-ring-gai’.

Saving Ku-ring-gai Trees

Is Ku-ring-gai’s urban forest on the brink of extinction?

FOKE remains concerned about the cumulative loss of Ku-ring-gai’s canopy trees and asks where the evidence is that Ku-ring-gai Council’s tree replanting program will:

  • compensate for the substantial loss of canopy trees, many up to 150-200 years old, across Ku-ring-gai?
  • assess the progress of where, when and which saplings have been planted over the last decades and whether they are on track to replacing Ku-ring-gai’s urban forest?
  • prioritise reaching net zero emissions by protecting Ku-ring-gai’s canopy trees for their critical role in carbon capture, temperature control and biodiversity protection?

    FOKE highlights one case study of significant tree losses in Gordon Recreational Reserve, between Werona Avenue and Rosedale Road, Gordon. In September 2023 yet another giant canopy tree in this park was targetted for removal. Where are the plans to replace the trees cut down? Where is the preventative program to restore tree health?

    Gordon residents were notified in a letter, dated 9 August 2023, that Ku-ring-gai Council intends to remove a magnificent Blackbutt Tree (Eucalyptus pilularis) located on the Rosedale Road nature strip adjacent to Gordon Recreation Reserve. This significant canopy tree is 30 metres high and with a canopy 18 metres wide.

    Ku-ring-gai Council says it wrote to residents 18 months earlier (around February 2022) informing them of the tree’s removal due to ongoing health decline. They then proceeded to contact Ausgrid to schedule the tree’s removal, as the tree is located within Ausgrid’s ‘zone of influence’.

    Ku-ring-gai Council’s RMTR22/00143 notification letter, dated 9 August 2023, again notified residents of the tree’s removal even though the letter header was ‘PROPOSED STREET TREE REMOVAL’. The letter outlined the reasons for the tree’s removal due to “concerns” regarding “the safety of the tree”. Ku-ring-gai Council’s Tree Management Officers along with an external consultant confirmed that the tree has significant structural defects to the upper trunk/canopy.

    Thanks to the Gordon Ward Councillors , residents were finally provided with a photo of the Blackbutt Tree to accurately identify which tree was to be removed (see photo above) as well as the arborist reports.

    Residents have requested a site meeting, but this has yet to be confirmed.

    FOKE believes that in future Ku-ring-gai Council should provide detailed site maps, in their tree removal correspondence to residents especially as this is a stringent requirement for Ku-ring-gai residents when they seek permission to remove or prune a tree. Many residents were confused about which tree Ku-ring-gai Council was going to remove when they received the tree removal letter.

    Yet FOKE asks what is the long-term management plan for the trees in this park? Will more significant trees be removed? How can residents be confident that Ku-ring-gai Council’s tree management is working for the long term?

    Already since July 2023 Ku-ring-gai Council has removed two significant Angophora trees from Gordon Recreation Reserve.

    At a site meeting with residents, on 21 June 2023, Ku-ring-gai Council staff agreed to undertake an independent report to assess the removal of a young, healthy Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata) growing next to the heritage pagoda entrance gate facing Werona Avenue, Gordon. This independent report recommended removal and in early August 2023 this healthy young Angophora tree was cut down. Another huge Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata) tree, located near the Tennis Pavilion, was also removed that was in poor health due to a fungal disease.

    During this site meeting, residents expressed concern over the cumulative loss of significant trees in the Gordon Recreation Reserve and its negative impact on Ku-ring-gai’s biodiversity. They also expressed concern that the ‘Masterplan’ for the park appears to be out of date especially following the November 2019 wild storm that, like a mini tornado with winds up to 90km/h, brought down many trees across the park as well as across Gordon and Pymble.

It is disappointing that at that June 2023 site meeting Ku-ring-gai Council staff did not disclose their intentions to remove the Blackbutt Tree near Rosedale Road and inform residents they were awaiting scheduling from Ausgrid. One now wonders which other trees are earmarked for removal?

One Gordon resident living near Gordon Recreation Reserve, since 1959, remembers noting that at least nine significant trees have been blown or cut down in the park. He estimates that about six saplings have been planted but few on the western side of the park near Werona Ave, between the split in the pathway. At least five significant trees have been lost near the Heritage Gateway.

Isn’t it time that this Masterplan be reviewed to take into account the ecological significance of the park?

FOKE remains deeply concerned about Ku-ring-gai’s Tree Management and whether it is fit for purpose as we face an escalating climate and biodiversity crisis.

This Angophora giant was removed from Gordon Recreation Reserve in July 2023
Will more trees be cut down and remove more habitat?