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Reform supports housing supply and diversity

The first stage of the NSW Government’s new housing policy will make it easier to deliver much needed social and affordable housing by removing roadblocks within the planning system.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said changes to the Housing SEPP (State Environmental Planning policy) were sensible and would stimulate housing supply by fast-tracking development, where applicable, with self assessment and declaring State Significant Development status for larger projects.

“The economic impacts of the pandemic highlighted how many people live under housing stress and these changes will remove roadblocks so we can supply much needed affordable and social housing,” Mr Stokes said.

“Diversity of housing is vital in our community in order to reflect the diversity of people, their incomes, their needs and where they are in their lives.

“Being able to help those who are vulnerable and help with the provision of affordable housing are important responsibilities for this government.”

Under the changes, NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) can self-assess developments of up to 60 homes to help meet their target of 23,000 new and replacement homes by 2026.

Major projects with a value greater than $100 million will be assessed as State Significant Development, while new affordable housing will be permitted in accessible areas in Greater Newcastle and Wollongong subject to development assessment.

Councils will also have greater powers to determine the size of secondary dwellings in rural areas, and how far they have to be located from the principal dwelling.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the changes would allow LAHC to push on with their social and affordable housing priorities faster.

“We have prioritised the construction of new homes off the back of the COVID-19 crisis and increased the budget by 80 per cent,” Mrs Pavey said.

“For every $1 million we invest into building new social housing, about five jobs are created, helping to support local businesses, tradespeople and apprentices.

“By June 2021 we will have increased the number of new homes for more vulnerable people in communities across all of NSW by over 150 per cent. This change to the planning rules will only help to increase this target.”

Further stages of the new Housing SEPP will be implemented early in 2021.