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Ministerial Media Release

Greater Sydney Commission appointments

  • Date: 04.12.2015
  • Type: Ministerial Media Release
  • Author: The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning

The NSW Government today announced the first of the Greater Sydney Commission appointments.


The Cabinet has approved the following positions:

  • Lucy Turnbull as Chief Commissioner;
  • Heather Nesbitt as Social Commissioner;
  • Rod Simpson as Environment Commissioner; and
  • Geoff Roberts as Economic Commissioner.


Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the Greater Sydney Commission would lead a new era of joined-up thinking in planning for the future of the nation’s only global city.


“The new commissioners are renowned experts in their fields. 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,” Mr Stokes said.


“I’ve never met someone more passionate about Sydney than Lucy. 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.


“I am also excited that we have been able to attract people of the calibre of Heather Nesbitt, Rod Simpson and Geoff Roberts to the Commission.”


The Commission will be charged with developing and implementing district plans, determining regionally significant development applications and will act as the decision maker on rezoning proposals currently undertaken by the Minister.


District Commissioners nominated by Councils within Sydney’s six planning districts are expected to be appointed in coming weeks.


For more information, go to


Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO is an urbanist, businesswoman and philanthropist with a longstanding interest in cities, and technological and social innovation. She chairs the Committee for Sydney and is Chairman of Prima BioMed Limited, an ASX- listed biomedical company undertaking clinical development for an immuno-therapeutic cancer treatment. She is currently a board member of the Turnbull Foundation and the United States Studies Centre and was on the board of Australian Technology Park 2005-15. She is Honorary President of the German-Australian Chamber of Business & Commerce. She was the first female Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney from 2003-4 and in 2011 she became an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community, local government and business. In 2012 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Business by the University of NSW.


Heather 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. Heather is committed to researching and delivering social outcomes which improve quality of life and well-being. She has significant experience in ensuring stakeholder and community consultation outcomes are considered in all projects.


Roderick Simpson is Director of the Urban Design and Master of Urbanism Programs in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney and Principal of simpson+wilson whose work ranges across architecture, urban design and strategic planning. In 2007 and 2008, as part of the SGS consortium, he led the urban design and spatial planning for the Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan. He has worked for Commonwealth, state and territory governments on metropolitan and regional planning, as Manager of Urban Design for the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, and has won a number of urban design and planning competitions, both national and international. For twenty years he has been an active advocate of ecologically sustainable design principles. He was instrumental in the formulation of BASIX, the NSW Building Sustainability Index, and more recently 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.


Geoff Roberts has 35 years’ experience in Australia and internationally. He is a specialist in city strategy, governance and leadership and currently holds an Adjunct Professor position in the City Futures Research Centre at the University of NSW. He is a highly regarded strategic advisor to a number of public and private sector organisations and has a deep history working in large metropolitan scale land use and infrastructure projects. Over the last decade Geoff has been involved on behalf of governments and the private sector in the key economic challenges facing cities, particularly around driving productivity, innovation in PPP delivery and value capture. He established and was a foundation director of Manidis Roberts for 25 years until its sale to the RPS group in July 2012.

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