Communities Plus 70:30 lives on at Bonnyrigg

According to the NSW Department of Communities & Justice (DCJ) there are over 6,000 households approved and waiting for social housing in just two allocation zones in Sydney’s South West –  Fairfield and Liverpool.

Yet the stock of social housing in the much bigger South West Sydney District has barely increased over recent years.

DCJ’s 2020-21 Annual Report reported that total social housing stock increased by just 129 dwellings over a 4-5 year period (26,849 to 26,978 from 2017 to 2021). 

It is very disappointing therefore, to see large public housing estate renewal projects contribute so little to increasing social housing stock; the Bonnyrigg Public Housing Estate for example. The Bonnyrigg public housing estates is being developed under the ‘Communities Plus’ model. This involves the sale of public land to private developers in exchange for the right to redevelop a denser precinct; but requiring just 30% of new dwellings to be social housing.


The plan for Bonnyrigg would eventually see just 900 new social dwellings delivered – only 70 more (up from 830 social housing properties and a small number of private dwellings). This very large redevelopment project is forecast to take over 30-years over 18 stages, eventually delivering approximately 3,000 new homes. And of course, consistent with the now traditional Communities Plus model, there appears to be no plan to deliver regulated Affordable Rental Housing. 
Shelter NSW supports efforts to create well-designed homes in medium-density communities especially, as in this case, where efforts are being made to create better links to public transport and community services; more diverse housing to support ageing in place; and more green space and tree canopy.

It is very frustrating though, to see a conscious choice by government to deliver so little additional social housing in a part of Sydney that so clearly needs it.

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