The NSW Government has reformed its former housing policy, removing roadblocks within the planning system that will make it easier to deliver much needed social and affordable housing to the state.

The changes to the Housing Safe Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) will allow the government to increase the number of new homes for vulnerable people in New South Wales communities, with a target of 23,000 new and replacement homes to be erected by 2026.

Minister for planning and public spaces Rob Stokes says that the changes are logical, and will fast-track development in areas that require increased housing.

“The economic impacts of the pandemic highlighted how many people live under housing stress and these changes will remove roadblocks so we can supply much needed affordable and social housing.

“Being able to help those who are vulnerable and help with the provision of affordable housing are important responsibilities for this government.”

Major projects by the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) with a value greater than $100 million will be assessed as State Significant Development, while new affordable housing will be permitted in accessible areas in Greater Newcastle and Wollongong subject to development assessment.

Councils will also have greater powers to determine the size of secondary dwellings in rural areas, and how far they have to be located from the principal dwelling. 

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey says the changes would allow LAHC to push on with their social and affordable housing priorities faster. 

“We have prioritised the construction of new homes off the back of the COVID-19 crisis and increased the budget by 80 per cent,” Mrs Pavey said. 

“For every $1 million we invest into building new social housing, about five jobs are created, helping to support local businesses, tradespeople and apprentices. 

Further stages of the new Housing SEPP will be implemented early in 2021.