An independent planning commission charged with taking a birds-eye view of decisions across Sydney will make the city more liveable and affordable, Planning Minister Rob Stokes says.

The Greater Sydney Commission, led by an independent chair, will be guided by six council-nominated district commissioners as well as a new economic commissioner, social commissioner and environment commissioner.

The changes would help ease Sydney’s affordability crisis by ensuring “an appropriate match-up of infrastructure and housing delivery”, Mr Stokes told the Planning Institute of Australia’s state conference on Tuesday.

“The commission will also be the sole decision-maker for both major and significant development assessments as well as ruling on rezoning proposals across Sydney,” he said.

Mr Stokes said it represented a move away from planning decisions being made in Macquarie Street and gave them back to the community.

But he told reporters councils remained a “crucial partner” in shaping Sydney, and mayors or their delegates would elect the commissioners of the six new super-districts.

Neither the planning minister nor the premier will have power to override decisions made by the commission.

Glenn Byres from the NSW division of the Property Council of Australia said the creation of the Greater Sydney Commission was long overdue.

“We need to change the way we do big-city planning,” he told reporters.

Sydney Business Chamber executive director Patricia Forsythe said it gave Sydney the chance to be a competitive, liveable and sustainable city.


By Sophie Tarr