The NSW Government has amended the State Environment Planning Policy 70 (SEPP 70) so as to enable five more Sydney councils to prepare schemes that will require developer contributions to provide affordable housing.

The Department of Planning and Environment’s deputy secretary of Policy and Communications Alison Frame says the new councils are Randwick City, Inner West, Northern Beaches, City of Ryde, and City of Canada Bay councils.

“The inclusion in SEPP 70 will simplify the process of development for the five local government areas, offering surety and a consistent approach to providing affordable rental homes, where they are needed,” Frame says.

“Affordable rental housing underpins economic productivity and connects workers to jobs and people to services.”

“In the City of Sydney affordable housing schemes in operation in Ultimo/Pyrmont, Green Square and the Southern Employment Lands have resulted in 739 affordable rentals, with a further 314 in the development pipeline,” she says.

Each individual council’s affordable housing scheme must consider feasibility to ensure it does not negatively impact the general supply of housing in the local area.

“Affordable housing schemes prepared by each council will undergo a rigorous assessment and be publicly exhibited as part of the existing Gateway process,” Frame says.

The Department is currently preparing guidance to assist councils to prepare the affordable housing schemes.

After a council is included within SEPP 70, and the scheme is referenced in its local environmental plan, council can begin requiring contributions for affordable housing.