Affordable housing target for discussion at NSW Parliament

A mandatory affordable housing target of 15 per cent has received overwhelming support across NSW and will be discussed in the State Parliament on Thursday 3 August.

According to Jack de Groot, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, there is a groundswell in the community for an inclusionary zoning scheme to be mandated by the Planning Minister Anthony Roberts.

“Late last year the Society launched a petition asking the NSW Government to change the State’s planning laws so that at least 15 per cent of new residential developments are set aside for affordable housing – that’s one in six homes,” said Mr de Groot.

“We also believe that the NSW Government should lead by example and deliver 30 per cent affordable housing on redevelopments on the land it owns – that’s 3 in 10 homes. This is one of a suite of available solutions to housing security in our most populous state.

“The response was outstanding – we needed 10,000 handwritten signatures in order for the petition to be discussed in Parliament but our members, volunteers and employees worked tirelessly across the length and breadth of the state and in the end we received over 16,300 signatures of support.”

“The Society has received endorsement from independents and minor parties, and in May the NSW Labor Party announced their inclusionary zoning policy. So we anticipate a productive multi-partisan approach to developing an affordable housing solution on the day,” said Mr de Groot.

The ALP has promised that at least 25 per cent of new properties constructed on government-owned land would be set aside as affordable housing. As well, 15 per cent of privately owned land rezoned for housing would be designated for affordable housing. Inclusionary zoning is a long held policy of the NSW Greens and Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney, also has a policy commitment.

Also supporting the call for inclusionary zoning is Amy Brown, Partner, Infrastructure & Urban Renewal at PwC, and author of their report A place for everyone, Tackling Sydney’s affordable housing crisis (2017).

Ms Brown said that The NSW rental system is one of the world's most unstable and unaffordable making it very difficult for low to moderate income earners to live in high amenity locations and close to jobs and services.                                                                                   

“Providing more housing at affordable rental rates, closer to the jobs of key workers will also have significant benefit to our economy. With every 30 minutes that key workers commute in traffic amounts to $815,000 in lost economic benefit,,” she says.

“There are currently few policies to incentivise the supply of affordable rental housing To meet the vast need a number of levers must be pulled, including the opportunity for the government to set inclusionary zoning.”

The Visitors’ Gallery will be filled with Society supporters and housing sector leaders hoping to see their local MPs voicing their endorsement for a change to the legislation.

The petition is part of the Society’s Right to Home campaign urging the NSW, Commonwealth and local governments to deliver more housing that is affordable and sustainable.

“We all have the right to a home. Every single community member should have a home where they can thrive, close to transport, work, family and friends and their community networks, ” said Mr de Groot.

Media contact:  Felicity Harvey | felicity.harvey@vinnies.org.au | 0417 446 430