Affordable housing policies must work with industry: Chris Johnson

Affordable housing policies must work with industry: Chris Johnson
Affordable housing policies must work with industry: Chris Johnson


The NSW Labor Party’s approach to affordable housing must work with the development industry rather than add a new tax.

Labor’s affordable housing announcement contains some positive proposals that will generate more affordable homes across Sydney, but this will depend on the details.

The strong approach to driving outcomes on government owned land, with a state wide audit, and tasking UrbanGrowth to deliver outcomes will certainly give results.

Clearly the private sector purchase of government owned land will need to be discounted to provide 25% of new homes as being affordable.

The proposal for 15% of new properties on private land to be affordable will only work if it is based on rezoning and floor space uplift.

The Labor Party's 'Next Steps' document attached to the media release identifies 'A 15% Affordable Housing Mandate on privately owned land' which sounds like an inclusionary zoning approach.

To simply force developers to provide 15% of their homes to a community housing developer will only increase the cost of the remaining 85% of homes. If this is the case the Urban Taskforce does not support a 15% inclusionary zoning tax.

The Urban Taskforce has proposed a better approach to the supply of more affordable housing as a modification of the state government’s Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).

This policy was brought in by the Labor Party in 2009, to provide up to 20% of a housing development as being affordable.

The modification needs to increase the uplift to 20% in floor space and height and to maintain the requirement of affordable rents for 10 years. We urge all political parties to consider this practical and achievable approach to delivering more affordable homes. 

The discussion on housing supply and affordability in Sydney must not become a battlefield between political parties. It seems that any proposal by one political party is immediately attacked by another political party. The Urban Taskforce calls on all political parties to contribute to a constructive discussion on Sydney's housing crisis.

The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with all political parties to develop sustainable approaches to the provision of affordable housing.

Chris Johnson is chief executive officer of property development industry group Urban Taskforce and can be contacted here.

Housing Affordability Housing Supply

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