Opinion: Planning Department Policies Contains Sydney's Affordable Housing Solution


By Urban Taskforce Australia

The Urban Taskforce Australia says the solution to Sydney’s affordable housing is contained in the current Department of Planning policies.

“The solution to Sydney’s affordable housing problems is contained in the existing legislation and recommendations of the Affordable Housing Taskforce as outlined on the Department of Planning’s website,” Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said.

“The Affordable Housing Taskforce report to the Coalition Government in 2012 clearly stated that the private sector will not enter the affordable housing market without incentives (Action 5)," Mr Johnson said.

“The Affordable Housing Taskforce report said ‘These incentives have been particularly attractive where the bonus represents significant value’(Cl 4.12). The Taskforce report supported the principle of the Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) as a good way to generate affordable housing.

Mr Johnson said the current Affordable Rental Housing SEPP is based on rental housing being, for a period of 10 years, through ‘a restriction on the occupation certificate against the title of the property’ (Cl17) and the Urban Taskforce proposal uses exactly the same definition.”

“Since the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP was introduced a relatively small number of affordable homes have been produced because the incentives have been too low," he said.

"With a lifting in the incentives thousands of affordable housing homes can be built in metropolitan Sydney.

“The Coalition Government’s Taskforce raised concerns that inclusionary zoning would only work where land value was high. ‘Inclusionary zone policies have been shown to work most effectively in high value land locations and have limited application in lower cost markets.’ (Cl 4.14).

“It seems that the approach now preferred by the Greater Sydney Commission is to force inclusionary zoning as a tax on new housing development. While this may work where land value is high, like Vaucluse, it is unlikely that the suburbs that really need affordable housing will benefit.”

Mr Johnson believes that to force a new tax on the development industry in Sydney will act as a disincentive on the private sector to provide homes.

"By default it will be the NSW Government who will need to provide massive numbers of affordable homes."

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