Local Government Matters – Inner West, Burwood, Parramatta, Cumberland and Canterbury Bankstown

During May and June Shelter NSW has advocated directly to local government to make or support the case for more affordable rental housing. Our advocacy has ranged from speaking to Council in just 3 precious allocated minutes or in submissions that deep dive into the detail of planning instruments.  Here are just a few of those.

Inner West Council – resolves to use its own resources to tackle the housing crisis.
Following an earlier presentation to the Council’s Affordable Housing and Renters’ Rights Stakeholder Forum, Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler was very happy to speak to Council at its May 21 meeting in support of a comprehensive resolution that sees Council stepping right into the field of action. It included:

  • a commitment to work with faith groups seeking to develop affordable housing on their own lands;
  • investigating the use of Council’s own car parks for housing;
  • additional funding to the Marrickville Legal Centre tenancy advice service and its determination to advocate to the state government for the ending of No Grounds Evictions.
  • Another resolution calls for 1,000 new public housing dwellings within the local area as part of the TOD program.

“...when the Prime Minister talks about growing up in (public) housing… it was council housing. But there’s nothing wrong with councils owning, leading the way and leaving a decent legacy when it comes to council-provided housing“John Engeler, CEO Shelter NSW, addressing Inner West Council on 21 May 2024

” I am humbled to put myself forward as Prime Minister of our great nation. I grew up in Sydney, in public housing, the son of a single mum.” Anthony Albanese, Leader of the Opposition, 10 April 2022. Source: X

Burwood North Masterplan Proposal – scaled up ambition and bulk without the affordable housing to match. 15% not 2% please!

What happens in Burwood matters for the rest of Sydney. For this reason, Shelter NSW has made several submissions over the years. Most recently we have looked very carefully at the Council’s proposal for a redeveloped Burwood North Precinct, adjacent to a future Metro station currently being constructed.

In 2022, Shelter NSW made a submission on the early plans for the precinct which included a proposed requirement for a minimum 5% affordable housing.

With the late 2023 announcement of the NSW Government’s Transport Oriented Development (TOD) program however, we saw an opportunity to raise the bar. This Shelter NSW January 2024 submission called on Burwood Council to lift its aspirations for the precinct. With all the density hallmarks of a Tier 1 Accelerated Precinct (but curiously not officially identified as such) it seemed obvious to us that Council ought to also require “up to 15% affordable housing in perpetuity” consistent with the requirements of a Tier 1 TOD.  

Burwood Council has indeed recently noted this same density opportunity but inconsistently, comparing its own proposed affordable housing requirements to that of the Tier 2 TODS (2% in perpetuity).

Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler addressed Burwood Council on 21 May 2024 noting the following:”…we are lodging a strong objection due to the absence of sufficient affordable housing provisions within the master plan area commensurate with the density that has been created through these planning changes and the huge investment of public funds in the nearby transport infrastructure… the master plan has been revised quite substantially… (with a) significant increase in FSR and height across 70% of the blocks.
 …it really should be also taken for one of the tier one TODS … with a master plan provision. And those master plan provisions generally talk about affordable housing. 
So not 2%, not 5%, but 15%… we’re really talking 15%, not 2%.”

Parramatta – Affordable Rental Housing Policy for Council-owned properties  
Parramatta Council has recently exhibited itsdraft Affordable Rental Housing Policy which applies to housing owned by City of Parramatta Council. It focuses on the operational management of affordable rental housing; and the mechanisms for Council to acquire additional affordable rental housing. Shelter NSW made a short submission with a series of practical suggestions including our encouragement not to exclude prospective tenants who may not currently live in the local area
At the other end of the policy spectrum Parramatta Council has also released its draft Parramatta 2050 vision statement for comment.

Cumberland – Shelter NSW objects to Westmead South Masterplan 
Just days ago, and again following a short address by Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler to Cumberland Council Shelter NSW has lodged an objection to the Council’s proposed masterplan.
While we welcome the proposed targeted and very well-located affordable housing provision for this important health and education precinct our assessment is that the proposals lack a viable statutory planning framework to realise Council’s vision. We hope to see a more robust approach emerge

Bankstown+10 (Committee for Sydney event)
Bankstown is one of Sydney’s most multicultural and fastest growing areas. This growth comes with unique challenges, ambitions and opportunities: what do Bankstown’s community and industries need to live, work, and thrive in their area? What do the next 10 years hold for the region? (Committee for Sydney)

Shelter NSW was delighted to attend Committee for Sydney’s Bankstown+10 event last week and hear from local business, community, arts, government and political leaders talk about their aspirations for the area. 
In his opening address, Minister Jihad Dib and local Member for Bankstown set out a deeply personal and compelling vision for his local area; one that carries forward the spirit of this proudly loud and colourful area; with truly affordable housing and community facilities critical for low-income people to live, work, play and stay in the area.
With Bankstown Station on the list of Accelerated TOD precincts and a number of other stations in the Canterbury-Bankston corridor on the Tier 2 TOD list and slated for significant development (Canterbury, Wiley Park, Belmore, Lakemba, Punchbowl from October – June 2025) his concerns are noted and supported.

Minister Jihad Dib, Member for Bankstown, speaking at the Bankstown+10 event