The NSW Government’s review of potential housing opportunities reported in the media today shows the government’s commitment to boosting housing supply and increasing affordability in a common-sense and transparent way, UDIA NSW believes. In what is one of the biggest steps forward for NSW housing supply for years, the Government has given a commitment to pursuing housing opportunities where the landholdings are, rather than designated growth areas that suffer major land fragmentation issues.
Late last year Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard made a public call to developers with large landholdings, close to infrastructure, to approach the State Government with their projects, in recognition that residential development in NSW had stagnated for many years. This month, the Government published online the results of that process: a list of 43 sites which are potential candidates for rezoning for urban development under the Review of Potential Housing Opportunities on Landowner Nominated Sites.
In the Sydney region, the sites are in the local government areas of Auburn, Blacktown, Camden, Campbelltown, City of Sydney, Hornsby, Liverpool, Penrith, Pittwater, Sutherland, The Hills, and Wollondilly. Regionally, the sites are in the local government areas of Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Hawkesbury, Port Stephens, Wingecarribee, and Wyong. Submissions closed on November 29 and the review process is predicted to be finalised in the first quarter of this year.
The projects are being assessed on three criteria, according to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s website:
- Housing delivery: The site is suitable for urban development and has viable prospects to produce houses in the short term.
- Infrastructure: Infrastructure and services for new communities will be delivered in a timely and efficient manner and at no additional cost to Government.
- Strategic setting: The proposal supports the broadly planned pattern of growth and urban policies.
The process is governed by a Chief Executives’ Review Committee, which is chaired by the Director-General of the Department of Premier & Cabinet. Recommendations will then be made to State Government. Consultation will take place with the relevant Councils to seek their feedback on the proposals. Today, in the Sydney Morning Herald, Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard said many of the nominated sites were outside the growth centres and that the growth centres strategy had failed. “The lines on the maps for the growth centres are supposed to encourage development in those areas, but it has not worked and the corollary has been it deterred development outside these lines,” Mr Hazzard told the newspaper.
UDIA NSW believes this process shows the government is deeply committed to fostering housing growth and that it is also being transparent about the process and consultative with councils, which is essential. UDIA NSW Chief Executive Stephen Albin said says he believes the process is a realistic approach to fostering development where the landholdings are, rather than simply rezoning land in areas of fragmented ownership. “Our own research, which we have put to Government, clearly shows that the large sites where the landowners have been ready, willing but not yet able to develop are largely outside the growth centres,” he said. “It is clear, for the state to meet its future population and economic growth targets, that the process needs to take into account achievable development rather than operating off a wish-list that may not be viable or achievable.” “We support development that is led by the realities of the industry, whether it is inside or outside a growth centre – so long as it is commercially viable, sustainable, and supported by the appropriate infrastructure.” “As an industry group, we feel it is important to stress that this process is one that will benefit the state as a whole, in terms of housing affordability and economic growth.”
Thank you to UDIA NSW for this Article