Housing diversity exemption for NSW councils marks a sad day for future generations: Urban Taskforce

Housing diversity exemption for NSW councils marks a sad day for future generations: Urban Taskforce
Housing diversity exemption for NSW councils marks a sad day for future generations: Urban Taskforce


The baffling exemption of 47 NSW Councils from the adoption of a new law to encourage terrace housing until July 2019 demonstrates that these councils are shirking their responsibility to promote a diverse range of housing types.

This is a sad day for future generations looking to live an affordable lifestyle in a diverse range of housing types.

All the ‘Missing Middle’ Low-Rise Medium Density Housing Code did was provide a faster approval process for medium density housing types where councils already permitted this type of development in their local government area. To see this over reaction and backlash against two storey town houses and terrace houses by councils demonstrates just how out of touch they are with young families and other demographic groups looking for somewhere to live.

The publishing today of the amendment to the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code in the NSW Government Gazette includes at clause 3B.63 a list of 47 councils that are in a deferred area until 1 July 2019. The councils include Bayside, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Georges River, Hornsby, Inner West, Lane Cove, Mosman, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, City of Sydney, Willoughby and Woollahra. These are all areas where terrace houses should be part of the diverse mix of homes to accommodate our growing population.

These 47 councils are clearly bowing to small activist groups who are desperate to keep Sydney as a 1950s suburban structure with detached houses. It is fine for many people to live this way but there are other people who want to live in more urban ways and they should not be denied this opportunity.

It is unfortunate that the NSW Government has permitted this large number of councils to signal that they are against growth. The Urban Taskforce believes the Missing Middle Housing Code is an important pathway to Sydney's future. The approach to encouraging smaller, terrace house layouts like those in Paddington is an important component of the provision of a diverse range of housing types. We support the code and the housing types it encourages as a vital part of the mix to house Sydney's population growth.

The NSW Government must not allow councils to remove the potential for terrace houses from their LEPs during the deferral period but they must ensure that there are appropriate areas for this building type.

The result of the council rejection of two storey terrace houses is likely to be the need for many more high-rise towers of apartments. Those councils that reject low rise density should be forced to allocate larger precincts for high rise residential towers to make up for the loss of new housing.

The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with the 47 councils to make sure they are providing a diverse and affordable range of homes for the children and grandchildren of their current ratepayers.

CHRIS JOHNSON is CEO of the Urban Taskforce.

Housing Supply Urban Taskforce

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