Housing Availability and Affordability Crisis
The barbecue-stopper issue of housing availability and affordability has focused this Budget squarely on home purchase and ownership rather than the growing backlog and need for social housing. While $300 million has been allocated for maintenance and upgrades to more than 15,800 social housing properties, there are no major initiatives or allocations for new and additional housing of this type.
There is $11.2 million additional funding for the Roads to Home Program, to deliver planning and infrastructure upgrades and support access to essential services to First Nations communities, and $25.4 million for the construction of 200 new homes and 260 upgrades, which aligns with our call for the Government to reduce housing disadvantage impacting Aboriginal people in NSW.
LGNSW was also pleased to confirm $149.2 million additional funding in the Accelerated Infrastructure Fund, including $120 million to help deliver the roads, transport, water and sewer infrastructure needed to unlock new housing in regional areas currently suffering a housing crisis. Similarly, the $8.9 million this year to implement the recommendations of the Regional Housing Taskforce aligns with one component of this key local government advocacy priority.
We note that $35.8 million has been allocated this year for planning system improvements “to cut the time it takes to unlock land and secure approvals”. While we welcome the Government’s stated intent of working with councils on these reforms, it is critical that reduced assessment times do not come at the expense of good planning outcomes - or the removal of councils’ and communities’ authority to determine development in their local areas.
We’ll also be looking closely at the $31.3 million 2022-23 Budget commitment to additional State-led re-zonings. The Government says these re-zonings will give the industry certainty and deliver more than 70,000 new dwellings across the State; we are not confident this is possible without the erosion of local planning powers.
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