Housing challenges for Regional NSW

Regional NSW is diverse. In some parts there are ‘growing pains’ as locals compete with key workers from new industries and relatively affluent Sydney-siders seeking a ‘tree or sea change’. In other areas, an aging local population struggles to ‘downsize’ with local housing stock lacking diversity and accessibility. And of course, all parts of Regional NSW are confronted with the challenges of climate induced hazards and rising energy costs. 

Shelter NSW welcomes the NSW Government’s recent announcement of the Regional Housing Taskforce.  Notwithstanding our comments in the previous article, we do accept that there are complexities and opportunities within the NSW planning system, that could and should be addressed.  For this reason we have recently made a submission to the Regional Housing taskforce about the problems being felt across regional NSW.

See below for some of our key recommendations but note that we did take the time to argue for a more nuanced assessment of the ‘housing problem’ we’re collectively trying to solve.
We called for Governments to step in, as they have across the history of this country, and build housing for those unable to compete in the private housing market.  

We look forward to working with the Regional Housing Taskforce especially as our own regional housing project reaches the publication stage.

Observations and recommendations include:

  1. bolstering the legislative weight of local housing strategies; 
  2. recognising Affordable Rental Housing as a form of infrastructure – requiring the fast-tracking of the review of contributions and other incentives;
  3. promoting diversity of housing products through the planning system to create greater housing choice in regional centres;
  4. actively resisting sprawl and reconsidering land zone typologies for regional areas – encouraging any new residential developments in regional areas to be based on clustering dwelling patterns or medium density development in town centres;
  5. forcefully requiring the timely development of rezoned land;
  6. addressing the confusing mix of legislation that applies to manufactured homes and manufactured home estates;
  7. increasing regulation of the short term holiday rentals, also known as short term rental accommodation (‘STRA’) in the planning framework;
  8. applying housing policy to address climate change, not exacerbate it.