Affordable Housing Target is Not Enough

Jack de Groot, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society NSW

I welcome the front page story in the Sydney Morning Herald today about the Greater Sydney Commission’s (GSC) commitment to including affordable housing in all new developments on land that is rezoned for higher density.

However, the figure of 5-10 per cent is too low and will do little to meet the critical shortage of affordable housing.

This figure does not represent the housing requirements of very low to low income households living in the proposed urban renewal areas.

Last week in the fanfare of the GSC announcement of plans for Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula (GPOP) there was no mention of their affordable housing commitment. The proposed target of 5-10 per cent was buried deep in the report.

Yet today this figure is making headlines. The Society is calling for a target of 15 per cent to meet the needs of Sydneysiders in the future. And much higher targets should be adopted for sites that are owned by the Government.

Urban redevelopment programs like GPOP generate considerable increases in land value – this value should be shared and enjoyed by all members of the community.

New York’s target of  up to 50 per cent and London’s of 35 per cent are far more realistic for Sydney, considering that after Hong Kong Australia has the least affordable housing market.

The Society launched a petition last week calling on the NSW Government to set a 15 per cent affordable housing target for all new developments.