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Housing targets provide certainty, but devil is in the 'delivery'

Local Government NSW, the peak association representing all 128 councils across the State, has acknowledged today’s announcement of housing targets from the Minns State Government provides much needed certainty for the sector, but expressed disappointment that councils were not more involved in their co-design.

LGNSW President Darriea Turley AM says LGNSW has long been calling for engagement on housing targets so that elected representatives and council staff can get on with the job of planning for the future.

However, questions remain around the monitoring of the housing targets, which have been released in the same week as a report from KPMG shows a growing ‘glut’ of dwellings approved but not completed due to rising costs of building materials, labour shortages and higher interest rates. Of these stalled approvals, 80 per cent are higher density projects such as townhouses and apartments .

“Councils have an important role in addressing the housing crisis but they do not build houses” says Cr Turley. “It makes no sense for councils to be marked against whether new homes are completed when this is beyond the control of local government”.

The imminent release of the housing targets and the issue of approved but not completed developments were both popular topics of discussion at a roundtable on Wednesday morning that LGNSW hosted with Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, the Hon. Paul Scully MP and the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Rose Jackson MLC.

The Ministers were joined by around 150 Mayors, Councillors and General Managers from across the State who used the opportunity to emphasise the importance of securing much needed infrastructure to match the population growth. Councils also put forward ideas to incentivise housing supply particularly where properties remain vacant or approved but not developed.

“We welcome the financial incentives for councils with the establishment of the Faster Assessments Council Incentives and Grants Program as this move recognises the significant financial impost that increased density and population numbers will have on our communities.”

The other important piece of this puzzle is the provision of infrastructure, and LGNSW appreciated assurances at the roundtable that the government is committed to a greater degree of coordination of state agencies with responsibility for providing infrastructure needed to support increased density.

Under the announcement made by Premier Chris Minns and the Minister for Planning Paul Scully, 43 councils across Greater Sydney, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, Central Coast, Lower Hunter and Greater Newcastle are provided with individualised housing targets to be completed by 2029.

The rest of the state has been allocated 55,000 new homes, which aligns with expected demand and growth for new homes in those regional areas.

The announcement of the targets coincided with LGNSW’s Housing Roundtable with Ministers Scully and Jackson hearing directly from local government representatives from across the state.

Cr Turley says the roundtable was a productive and helpful session for local government representatives to talk directly with Ministers and with senior departmental staff.

“It was a genuinely collaborative session with Mayors and GMs highlighting their concerns but also offering some constructive ideas and solutions to address particular issues and challenges” Cr Turley said.

“We heard loud and clear from the Ministers that addressing the housing crisis is a collective action from all three spheres of government – we look forward to playing our part and working with the State and Federal Governments to get the housing solutionsright.“

“Communities need to be supported by critical local infrastructure such as roads, public transport, parks, public schools and hospitals.”

“Local Government is best placed to know the challenges and the opportunities facing our communities and it’s integral that our voice continues to be heard in identifying those opportunities and in delivering solutions that are best for our communities.

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