More affordable housing on the agenda

Inner West Council has been included in amendments to the State Government’s State Environment Planning Policy 70 (SEPP 70) policy recently announced confirming Council’s ability to introduce affordable housing contribution requirements as part of rezonings or other planning proposals.

While each case still subject to the Minister’s agreement, the move now enables Council to make affordable housing requirements compulsory as opposed to negotiating them via voluntary planning agreements. Under the new SEPP 70 policy, each individual council’s affordable housing scheme must consider feasibility to ensure it does not negatively impact the general supply of housing in the local area.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne welcomed the decision by the State Government to finally act on calls from Council to amend planning laws to make it easier to force developers to provide affordable housing in new housing developments.

“Council has been arguing for some time that the only way we are going to ensure that key workers, such as teachers and nurses, can afford to live in our area is to have mandatory affordable housing contribution schemes in new developments,” he said.

“We have been calling on the Government to include Inner West Council in the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP 70) to enable Council to force developers to provide affordable housing in new developments.

“It’s great that we are now finally in a position to be able to require developers to negotiate about affordable housing rather than having to rely on goodwill and voluntary agreements.

“But while this is a good first step, it is by no means a cure that will fix the growing problem of local people being priced out of the area.

“The Government has been behind the eight ball when it comes to addressing housing affordability in this city and it needs to step up and do more to ensure workers our community relies on can afford to live in the suburbs they serve,” said Mayor Byrne.

Last year, Council adopted an Affordable Housing Policy, which requires 15 per cent of all total gross floor area to be transferred to Council as affordable rental housing units for any rezoned residential development with 20 or more dwellings or a gross floor area larger than 1,700sqm.

The policy applies to all land subject to rezoning for residential or mixed use purposes across the LGA, but is not currently supported by State Government legislation.

For media inquiries, contact Brendan Berecry on 9392 5218.

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Page last updated: 30 Jul 2018