NSW housing affordability policy abandoned

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May 28, 2011

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has put a stop to a policy introduced by the previous government allowing construction of medium density developments that did not meet local planning laws, providing 20 percent of the dwellings were allocated for rent at below market rate for 10 years.

The controversial plan was originally implemented to help people in professions such as teaching, nursing and the police force remain living and working in inner Sydney suburbs rather than being pushed to outer areas by unaffordable rents.

Hazzard claimed the policy was allowing some developers to rort the system by building the 20 percent apartments smaller than the others. He added that he’s acutely aware of the housing affordability crisis and that a new policy is being developed to help affordable housing options for low to middle income earners.

The new policy will stipulate that the 20 percent rule applies to total floor space, not the number of dwellings.

The new policy also requires:

  • Housing NSW to comply with local council’s notification policies when a development application is lodged for affordable housing
  • In urban areas, housing must be close to transport systems operating seven days a week.
  • The building must be within 800 metres of a train station or 400 metres of a light rail or bus stop.
  • In regional areas, housing must be within 400 metres of a local shopping centre.

While the new policy is likely to discourage developers from including affordable housing, Hazzard said a new housing affordability taskforce will be assigned to address the issue.


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