09 February 2024

The NSW Government is today announcing a partnership between Southern Cross University (SCU), Landcom and the NSW Reconstruction Authority which will unlock a parcel of university land for housing development to tackle the housing crisis in the Northern Rivers and support flood affected residents.

SCU, Landcom and the NSW Reconstruction Authority have signed a ‘Heads of Agreement’ to deliver over 400 dwellings in East Lismore.


Importantly, at least 20 per cent will be set aside for affordable housing, while a number of the serviced lots will be made suitable for the relocation of existing homes from flood affected areas. 


Southern Cross University, an integral part of the Lismore community, has made 72 hectares of university land available for the development.


The development will include a diverse mix of low- and medium- density housing, including serviced lots, and low-rise multi-dwellings.


NSW Government agency Landcom will invest $60 million to develop the site, this includes providing the infrastructure for development such as new roads, power, water, and sewerage connections.


An additional $15 million contribution from the NSW Reconstruction Authority will enable participants from the Commonwealth and State funded Resilient Homes Program (RHP) to be given priority access to purchase the new land and housing before it is offered to the broader market.


The development is also the first major project to be delivered under the Government’s $100 million Resilient Lands Program.


During the 2022 floods and in the aftermath, the University played a pivotal role in the region’s recovery, housing schools, community services and undertaking research focused on adaptation and renewal.


Detailed design and planning work and developing a formal commercial agreement will now start. 


This will confirm details on how Resilient Homes Program participants will be able to secure new land and housing under the project, and which areas of the development will be suitable for relocated homes.


Resilient Lands Program includes a range of projects across the Northern Rivers region to supply new land and housing in the region to provide participants of the Resilient Homes Program with more options to relocate from the highest risk areas of the flood plain.


A Registration of Interest process for the Resilient Lands Program is available for eligible RHP participants. The NSW Reconstruction Authority has established a concierge service to guide people through the process.


The $700 million Resilient Homes Program and the $100 million Resilient Lands Program are the largest projects of their kind in Australia and were announced in response to one of the nation’s worst ever flood disasters.


Landcom will commence early enabling works on the East Lismore development site later this year, subject to approvals. It is expected that land and housing will be available for sale from 2026.


The Southern Cross University site is above the above the probable maximum flood level.


NSW Premier Chris Minns said:


“There has been a lot of work done but we acknowledge that it has been a long wait for Northern Rivers communities to access safer land and housing options.


“This is the Lismore community working together at its best.


“I want to offer a big thank you to Southern Cross University for working with us to increase much needed land supply for housing in Lismore.


“This is something the Northern Rivers community has been waiting for and today is an important step in their recovery.


“We look forward to working with them to create a new place for people to call home.


“There is a lot more that we need to do but this is an important step in the community’s recovery process.”


Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said:


“The Northern Rivers had been experiencing housing pressures for some time before the floods and that’s why we have made getting housing supply up and running a priority.


“Landcom is well-placed to lead this important development which will deliver for the people of the Northern Rivers. 


“This development is the first of a range of projects that will be delivered through the Resilient Lands Program to provide suitable and safe places for people to move off the floodplain and out of harm’s way.


“I’m pleased to see Landcom, the university and the NSW Reconstruction Authority working together to deliver much needed housing for the people of the Northern Rivers.


“Today’s announcement is the result of a mammoth amount of work and the long-term impact it will have on Lismore should not be underestimated.”


Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said:


“We are working with the Northern Rivers community as part of our genuine commitment to the ongoing recovery needs of the region and today demonstrates how we are with them for the long-term.


“This is a vitally important next step towards delivering resilient homes for the community.”


Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery, Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin said:


“This landmark housing agreement gives heart and hope, and homes, to our communities.


“Today’s most welcome announcement makes real our rebuild and recovery, giving a great lift to our economic and social recovery.


“It supports flood impacted residents including those who want to relocate their homes-allows locals to stay in Lismore and is the first with more to come across the Northern Rivers.”


Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin said:


“Southern Cross University is an important part of the Lismore community. Since the floods hit in February 2022, we have been at the forefront of flood relief, and we are proud to continue using our facilities and our expertise to ensure Lismore rebuilds and revitalises better and more resilient than ever.


“East Lismore is close to the university, close to the CBD, and close to shops, sporting facilities, schools and other community infrastructure – so it’s the ideal location for a development such as this. I look forward to seeing this land opened up, and to welcoming hundreds of residents, including families, students, and university staff.”


Mayor of Lismore City Council Steve Krieg said:


“This is such an important social and economic boost for the city of Lismore.


“We can now provide tangible, viable housing opportunities for our residents to be able to relocate from the floodplain, and stay in the city that we all work and live in.


“Two years on from the disaster that had such a profound impact on our lives, we can now genuinely feel that progress is being made in the recovery and rebuild of Lismore.”