19 June 2023

The Minns Labor Government will use new NSW planning laws to focus State-owned Housing Corporations on tackling the State’s housing crisis, by building more social and affordable homes, faster.

The changes will prioritise the delivery of social and affordable housing in places where people want to live, closer to jobs and accessible to people who need it most.

The major reforms will provide the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) with an expanded State Significant Development (SSD) approval pathway for projects with more than 75 homes or more than $30 million capital investment.

In addition, Landcom will have access to the same pathway where any project it develops contains at least 50% affordable housing.

Applications made through the SSD pathway must still meet rigorous checks and balances and the SSD process includes opportunities for councils and communities to input and comment on the housing proposal.

Other reforms announced today include:

  • Changes to existing self-assessment powers for LAHC and AHO, increasing from 60 dwellings and 2 storeys to 75 dwellings and 3 storeys. Self-approval will mean a faster pathway to the start of construction.
  • Landcom will have the same self-assessment powers for affordable housing developments of up to 75 dwellings as well as access to a State Significant Development pathway for developments over $30 million where at least 50% is affordable housing.
  • Reducing the minimum lot size to 400m2 for dual occupancies being delivered as a complying development by LAHC, AHO, Community Housing Providers and Aboriginal Community Housing Providers. This effectively means creating more space for more homes.
  • Social and affordable housing providers will be exempt from attracting State infrastructure contributions.

These changes demonstrate the Minns Government’s commitment to the delivery of affordable housing.

Today’s announcement builds on changes announced last week where the private market was offered incentives to construct new developments as long as they include at least 15% affordable housing.

The changes announced today will take effect later this year.

Further housing supply reforms are also on the horizon, with this new Government focused on driving more supply through collaboration with all stakeholders.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said the NSW Government is making better use of planning laws to respond to the housing crisis and get more homes built quickly.

“Last week we provided incentives to the private market to build affordable housing. Today we are mobilising the State’s own property development agencies with new ways to deliver more social and affordable housing, sooner,” Mr Scully said.

“Unlike the previous Government, we’re following through on our commitments and taking action as fast as we can to intervene in the housing crisis. We’re facing a shortfall of more than 130,000 new homes over the five years to 2029.  These initiatives help with meeting our commitments under the National Housing Accord for new homes.”

Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness Rose Jackson said gone are the days where Government kicks the can down the road as though housing is someone else’s problem to fix.

“The Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday for $2 billion towards social and affordable housing will fund our work with a cash injection for NSW of more than half a billion dollars,” Ms Jackson said.

“The $610 million investment in social housing will help to immediately accelerate the delivery of more homes for the people of NSW. In the next two weeks we will receive this vital funding to help us rebuild our social housing system and support some of our most vulnerable.

“We have a shared responsibility to create solutions to tacking our housing crisis. This Federal funding is the boost we need and, coupled with the changes to the planning system, will help speed up the delivery of homes,” Ms Jackson said.

“We’re using the government’s own agencies to tackle this challenge of making sure that those who need social and affordable housing can access it more quickly.”

For more information visit https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/policy-and-legislation/housing/housing-sepp