Randwick Council will become the first local government in Sydney’s sought-after eastern suburbs to be offered the power to authorise affordable housing conditions on new developments.  

The council’s request to be included in the State Environmental Planning Policy 70 zoning has been approved by the state government, meaning it can begin imposing affordable housing conditions on developments within its jurisdiction right away.

The SEPP is currently only operating in parts of the City of South Sydney (Green Square), City of Sydney (Ultimo-Pyrmont), Leichardt and the City of Willoughby, but Randwick is the latest council to join up and will begin by creating circa-200 affordable units along the light rail line between Kensington and Kingsford, according to Fairfax reports.

“By including Randwick specifically in the affordable housing SEPP, this will give us a legal framework to require new development to have more affordable housing rather than relying on the goodwill of the developer," Randwick mayor Noel D'Souza tells Fairfax.

"Currently councils have limited authority to require new development to include affordable housing and it is typically done through a voluntary agreement with the developer."

The SEPP’s original purpose was to facilitate the creation and management of affordable housing so that a socially diverse residential population representative of all income groups is developed and maintained in a locality.

But there is growing consensus that more needs to be done on behalf of the state government to curb the city’s affordable housing crisis and ensure the creation and management of affordable housing within the Sydney metropolitan.

Recommendations from The Greater Sydney Commission, established last year, would go further than the SEPP by proposing that five to 10 per cent of rezoned land be dedicated to affordable housing rather than just leaving the imposition of conditions on development consents to the consent authority.

The new Inner West Council has proposed a more aggressive 15 per cent affordable housing target.

The new $1.6 billion new Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail project is currently under construction and will connect Randwick to Circular Quay and Central Station.