Housing crisis solution must involve councils

Communities across NSW could find themselves living in congested neighbourhoods without adequate parking, green space, schools and hospitals if the NSW Government’s proposal to force greater housing density goes forward without council collaboration.

Local Government NSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM said there were no cookie cutter solutions to the housing crisis, which was why council planning rules had always reflected their communities’ vision rather than the wishes of developers.

“While we don’t shy away from the need for more housing, it’s councils that undertake the strategic planning for their communities based on the capacity of services and the availability of infrastructure,” Cr Turley said.

Her comments followed the Premier’s announcement that the State Government will force councils to lift long-standing exclusions on building terraces, townhouses, and multi-storey apartment blocks across various local government areas where they are now not permitted in some local zones.

“Councils recognise the scale of the housing crisis, but the proposal will do nothing to reduce the price of homes given developers will still seek to make maximum profits.

“It will be like the situation we see in supermarkets where people are paying more for less. The price of homes will continue to rise, but the quality and size of those homes shrink,” she said.

“I do welcome Minister Scully committing to listening to feedback from councils and communities over the coming months as these reforms are exhibited, to ensure negative impacts of wide-ranging reforms can be avoided.

“Increases in density must be accompanied by investment in infrastructure to ensure quality of life for all communities is not worsened.”

She said increased populations required schools, hospitals, parks, open spaces, playing fields, roads, and public transport.

“Local councils understand their communities and are always best placed to deliver housing diversity that is the best fit for local character and contributes to making great living places,” Cr Turley said.

“As the government’s proposal goes on public exhibition next week, it is critical that democratically elected local councils retain the right to make decisions in the best interests of their communities.”


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