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    NSW government pressures Newcastle to address affordable housing issues

    Kirsty Sier

    The NSW government is putting pressure on Newcastle City Council to fund up to thirty affordable housing units in a move that has been described as “steamrolling”.

    Announcing the plan on Tuesday, NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts urged the council to inject $3 million into a new plan to address inner-city affordable housing.

    “The NSW government is determined to deliver more new homes and is equally passionate about delivery affordable homes for people on moderate incomes who make up our key workforce,” Roberts said.

    The state government’s proposed plan included building thirty affordable housing units along Newcastle’s former rail corridor; a move that would require the council to re-zone the corridor.

    “They’re putting undue pressure on council to re-zone that corridor when there are plenty of other places to put affordable housing,” councillor Therese Doyle told the Newcastle Herald s subsequent to Roberts’ visit.

    In his speech on Tuesday, Roberts underlined the importance of including affordable housing in all new developments. He said that the building of strong communities relied upon providing the country’s key workforce with housing options through the community.

    The $3 million that the government is urging Newcastle council to use would come from the now-defunct Building Better Cities program, a federal initiative dating back to the nineties. Unspent funds from the initiative are required to be spent on affordable housing in the inner-city, but the Newcastle Council will come together for a vote before deciding whether or not they will release the funds – which have gone unspent for more than ten years, according to Roberts – for use in this particular initiative.

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