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More housing just part of the solution, Greens call for better housing plans

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
17 April 2024

4 March 2024 - The establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into the changes to residential density across NSW will provide a critical opportunity for policy experts, communities and other organisations to participate in a public and transparent process that will make recommendations about the proposed planning reforms of the NSW Labor Government.

Greens MP and spokesperson for Planning Sue Higginson said “There is broad support for increased density in appropriate areas to support the housing needs of the community, but equally is the desire for it to be delivered in a carefully considered and strategic way,”

“We are hearing loudly that the wholesale rezoning that is proposed by the Minns Labor Government will lead to ad hoc developments that hamstring Councils as they make long term strategic planning decisions,”

“There has not been a clear pathway established in the Transport Oriented Development proposal for the provision of critical infrastructure for communities that will see significant densification. Communities need more than transport; green space, schools, community spaces and healthcare facilities cannot be an afterthought when we are looking at more residential developments in areas that already suffer from a lack of new investment,”

“Housing affordability has to be a priority when considering new or denser developments, these changes might not even materially improve affordability due to the lack of provision for permanent affordable housing or dedicated public housing. The Government is under committing to affordable housing targets, with just 15% of new housing being affordable, and all of it moving to the general market after 15 years,”

“These changes fail to address the needs of low to very low income households and could further entrench disadvantage and housing ownership concentration,”

“Local councils are effectively being undermined by the proposed changes. Increased density is widely acknowledged to be in the best interests of the community and the Government should be making that case rather than overriding local plans. Disregarding local knowledge in Councils and communities will lead to a poorer built environments and will put communities offside with changes that could otherwise be welcome and necessary,”

“Protections against developer-led solutions must be part of the plans from the very start. Without value capture mechanisms and disincentives for land banking, these changes will gift developers huge windfall gains and allow them to hold onto land indefinitely - without building any additional housing - until they can extract the most profit from on-selling or developing it,”

“Rapidly changing climatic and environmental conditions throughout NSW also demand a different approach to minimum housing standards. Climate standards and biodiversity regeneration should be prioritised in any new development or redevelopment, this type of consideration is starkly lacking from what the Government has put forwards,” 

“The Greens support new and denser housing solutions, but we have to get better outcomes than what we are seeing so far from the Government. The Minister for Planning should hold back on pushing ahead with his plans and allow the Parliament to complete this inquiry, it will lead to better plans that bring communities along while protecting the environment and community amenity,” Ms Higginson said.

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
17 April 2024


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