THE Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, has called an immediate halt to new development applications made under a controversial policy designed to boost affordable housing for low- and middle-income-earners, and announced amendments to the scheme while a new policy is developed.
The policy, introduced by the previous government, allowed medium-density developments to be built even if they did not comply with local planning laws as long as 20 per cent of the housing was set aside to be rented at below market rates for 10 years.
It was designed in part to help workers such as teachers, nurses and police who are being forced to live on Sydney's fringe because of rising rents in the inner suburbs.
Mr Hazzard, who in opposition promised to abolish the policy, said affordable housing was ''critical'' but the policy imposed inappropriate development on suburbs.
It provided ''an avenue for small-time developers to rip into local communities and change [their] entire face''.
Mr Hazzard said some small developers were rorting a loophole in the scheme by applying the 20 per cent figure to the number of apartments in a development, but then making those apartments far smaller than the rest to maximise their profits.
From today, no applications will be accepted under the old policy. Existing applications will be subject to a ''character test'' to ensure they are compatible with local development control plans.
The policy will be amended to specify that the 20 per cent rule applies to total floor space, rather than numbers of units.
In a major change, Housing NSW will now be required to comply with a local council's notification policies when lodging a development application for affordable housing.
Under the old system, the applications were exempt, prompting anger from residents who learned about developments only once construction began.
More rigorous rules will be applied to ensure housing is close to transport and services.
In urban areas it will have to be close to public transport routes operating seven days a week. They will need to be within 800 metres of a train station, within 400 metres of light rail or 400 metres from a bus stop. A test will be introduced in regional areas stipulating housing built under the policy must be within 400 metres of a local centre.
The amendments effectively remove the incentive for developers to include affordable housing in their projects. But the government says it will establish a new affordable housing taskforce to develop a replacement policy.
''For the agony the communities were suffering there was no evidence that people who seriously needed affordable housing were getting it,'' Mr Hazzard said. ''It just seemed to be a very good cash cow opportunity for some, generally small, developers.''
The Local Government Association president, Keith Rhoades, welcomed the announcement. ''It has been of concern to councils right across NSW because it was circumventing their local planning rules. We've all got to be supportive of affordable housing and we don't want ghettoes either. We want to make sure the housing mix is right.''
Australian Property Forum focuses on Australian and global real estate markets, economics, and finance, including house prices, housing affordability, macroeconomics, and the likelihood of an Australian property crash. Does Australia have a housing bubble? Will house prices crash, boom or stagnate? Is it a good time to buy property using a home loan, or better to rent and save the difference? Is rent money dead money? Is the Australian property market a pyramid scheme or Ponzi scheme? Can property values rise keep rising forever? These are the types of question we address on Australia's premier real estate chat site for property bears, bulls, investors and speculators. Whether you're a property investor, first home buyer (FHB) or a happily renting tenant, this site has content for everyone. Additional topics debated on APF include politics, modern monetary theory (MMT), debt deflation, precious metals, generational divides, climate change, sustainability, alternative energy, environmental, human rights and social justice issues, whether or not Australia has a critical housing shortage, versus a glut (oversupply) of dwellings, negative gearing, capital gains tax, land tax, macro prudential regulation, reverse mortgages, debt consolidation, debt management, home insurance, landlord insurance, auction results, auction clearance rates, and all the latest house price news.
Australian Property Forum complies with ASIC Regulatory Guide 162 regarding Internet Discussion Sites. Australian Property Forum is not a provider of financial advice. Australian Property Forum does not in any way endorse the views and opinions of its members, nor does it vouch for for the accuracy or authenticity of their posts. Posts on Australian Property Forum may contain links to other websites operated by third parties. These websites are not under the control of Australian Property Forum and APF management is not responsible for their content.
It is not permitted for any Australian Property Forum member to post in the role of a licensed financial advisor or to post as the representative of a financial advisor. Australian Property Forum members are solely responsible for the accuracy and authenticity of their posts, including any alterations made to posts. It is not permitted for Australian Property Forum members to ask for or offer specific buy, sell or hold recommendations on particular stocks, as a response to a request of this nature may be considered the provision of financial advice.
This site may contain copyright material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner (generally, snippets from online news stories). Such content is posted to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific, and social justice issues. This constitutes 'fair use' of such copyright material as provided for in section 107 of US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes only. If you wish to use this material for purposes that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Such material is credited to the true owner or licensee. We will remove from the forum any such material upon the request of the owners of the copyright of said material, as we claim no credit for such material.