Western Sydney to Lead Social & Affordable Housing Revolution

Western Sydney to Lead Social & Affordable Housing Revolution

City leaders, spanning government, community housing, property, social services, and business have put forward a bold plan to reform the social and affordable housing sector and deliver better community outcomes and more jobs for Greater Western Sydney.  The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, in partnership with its Housing Reference Group, which includes groups such as Landcom, Lendlease, NAB, Frasers, community housing providers, EY & Deloitte, Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council, universities, government agencies and local councils, has developed a series of recommendations aimed at identifying and unlocking some of the opportunities within the social and affordable housing sector.  

Chair of the Dialogue, Christopher Brown AM, said the plan put forward was particularly relevant given the current economic climate, where the need for jobs and to help protect the region’s most vulnerable communities is high, and the appetite for investment in new affordable housing is growing.  

In 2016 Greater Western Sydney had only 46,000 available social and affordable housing dwellings to meet a need for 114,000, a shortfall of more than 67,000 homes.  

“This is clearly nowhere near good enough, and there is a need to explore every avenue available to unlock new supply. The one consistent message that we heard from the Housing Reference Group, and we’ve been having discussions for nearly 12 months, was that we need to start doing things differently,” Mr Brown said. 

“What we’ve put forward is a practical and ambitious approach that will fuel economic growth during these uncertain times and also ensure those facing housing stress or homelessness across the region can secure a roof over their head. 

“This report not only leverages the experience and diversity of a qualified working group, but importantly, maps the availability of public land, the development opportunities and productive partnerships, and where government investment should be focussed in order to get the best ‘bang for buck’. 

“Importantly, the region’s high employment reliance on residential construction jobs is at risk with Covid-related reductions in private housing demand, so a ramp up of social housing maintenance and development is a very timely initiative.” 

Some of the key recommendations and findings of the report, include: 

  • Immediate widespread maintenance and renovation works on existing social housing and affordable housing assets to increase longevity and stimulate crucial construction jobs 
  • Leveraging the land of Aboriginal Land Councils to increase affordable housing stock and improve housing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • There is a total of 1,620 hectares of developable land across the 10 LGAs of Greater Western Sydney that was appropriate for social and affordable housing and easily accessible to jobs, education, and the transport network. There is also a lack of visibility and collaboration between landowners and the housing providers, developers and investors seeking out new project opportunities. 
  • An inclusionary zoning target of up to 30% for any residential development within 1km of new Metro stations (significantly greater than the proposed Greater Sydney Commission’s 5-10% target) and for this to include the full range of “affordable” housing typologies such as key worker and student housing, sub-market rental, rent-to-buy and shared equity ownership as well as build-to-rent housing.
  • Calls for the NSW Government to transfer 30,000 public housing properties to the community sector, in a combination of management and title transfers (a doubling of the previous Social Housing Transfer program). 

Housing Reference Group Members: Arup, Campbelltown City Council, Canterbury Bankstown City Council, Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council, Deloitte, Evolve Housing, Frasers Property, Hume Community Housing, Kimberwalli, Land & Housing Corporation, Lendlease, NAB, NHFIC, SGCH, Western Sydney Community Forum, Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Western Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney Parklands, Western Sydney University.

Download Five Point Plan for Social & Affodrable Housing in GWS.