Developers ho-ho-home in on a Christmas bonus from the NSW Government

Developers received a profitable early Christmas gift from the NSW Government this week, but the social benefit of the move was decidedly limited, councils said today.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said the latest announcement by the State Government further erodes council involvement in town planning, giving developers increasingly free rein in both city and country.

LGNSW President Darriea Turley said developers had been gifted the right to build apartment buildings up to 30 per cent higher and more dense, in a trade-off for inclusion of units temporarily set aside as affordable housing.

“What this decision does is hand developers a permanent profit benefit, but it does nothing to build the long-term stock of affordable housing,” Cr Turley said.

“It essentially kicks the can down the road for a few more years, and when these units return to market price, key workers will find themselves in exactly the same housing crisis we have right now.”

Cr Turley said the change also allows developers of the biggest buildings to bypass every single component of the council approval process, leaving no protection for local communities.

“Under the State Significant Development (SSD) pathway, communities will be at the mercy of faceless government bureaucrats any time a building costs more than $75 million in the city, or $30 million in regional areas,” she said.

“Given the costs of housing and construction today, it doesn’t take a great deal to meet that requirement.”

Cr Turley said removing councils from the approval process also removed community checks and balances, and that the reforms also do not address how the infrastructure required by the additional density and growth in population would be funded.

“You can vote out a council which makes planning decisions you don’t support, but you have no such power to get rid of the bureaucrats,” she said.


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