NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Proposed policy changes support those in need

  • Date: 22.11.2022
  • Type: Departmental Media Release
  • Author: NSW Department of Planning and Environment

More affordable housing could be delivered, empty buildings and vacant land used to provide accommodation to tackle homelessness, and social housing could be rolled out faster, as part of a raft of policy changes on public exhibition today.

NSW Department of Planning and Environment Deputy Secretary of Planning Policy Brett Whitworth said the Department was seeking feedback on proposed changes to its statewide housing policy, to better enable the planning and delivery of housing for people with particular needs.

"Everyone has the right to a home, no matter where they live or their income, and we are doing everything we can to unlock the delivery of more affordable housing," Mr Whitworth said.

"We're proposing a 25% increase to the infill affordable housing floor space bonus available, to make it easier to plan for and deliver affordable housing.

"We're also reviewing our existing affordable housing contribution scheme guidance, to see where further improvements can be made."

Mr Whitworth said the proposed changes would help tackle homelessness as well.

"A stable home is still out of reach for some in our community, but the Government is committed to halving the number of people sleeping rough by 2025," he said.

"We are proposing changes to planning rules that would make it easier for empty buildings and vacant land to be used for temporary accommodation, with on-site support services, including counselling and medical services.

"We're also proposing to support our $554 million commitment to fast-track new and upgraded social and Aboriginal housing, by allowing the NSW Land and Housing Corporation and Aboriginal Housing Office to self-assess developments of up to 75 homes, and speeding up the assessment of projects larger than this through the State Significant Development pathway."

The explanation of intended effect on exhibition for feedback also proposes:

  • Creating a new State Significant Development (SSD) pathway for affordable housing to be delivered by the Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE), as part of its Affordable Housing Pilot Program, which will allocate surplus land for more than 300 new affordable homes in the Bayside, Blacktown, Inner West and Cumberland Council areas;
  • Creating a new State Significant Development pathway for residential developments worth more than $100 million, that include a minimum 20% of GFA as either social or affordable housing;
  • Replacing group homes and hostels with two new housing types (high support accommodation and supported living) in response to stakeholder feedback indicating that the current definitions and planning provisions for group homes are not fit-for-purpose;
  • Updating the accessibility and design standards for independent seniors living units; and
  • Allowing boarding houses on more land in regional areas, and extending the existing floor space ratio bonus for this housing type to land where shop-top housing is permitted.

Feedback is also sought on a proposed new design guide for seniors housing. It's been created to support the design and assessment of all types of seniors housing under the housing policy.

For more information and to lodge a submission on the full list of proposed changes to the Housing State Environmental Planning Policy and design guide by Monday, 19 December 2022, visit: planning.nsw.gov.au/housing-sepp