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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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There will be a number of changes over the next 20 years to household size and make-up. A different approach to housing delivery will be required on the North Coast to respond to these changes. 

The region will accommodate an additional 76,200 people, which will generate the need for 46,000 new homes.14 Almost one-third of residents will be aged over 65 years, and couple-only and single-person households will represent the largest share of households.15 These changes will not only increase the demand for housing, but also the need for a greater variety of housing. 

Future housing will be directed to locations that can accommodate more housing and that have existing or planned infrastructure and services.

Pursuing suitable housing densities in the right locations will create a more compact urban footprint and protect significant environmental areas.  

This approach to housing delivery will be more sustainable as it will protect the environment and create stronger, better-connected communities. 

Housing that meets the needs of residents on a range of incomes will also be important in addressing affordable and social housing to help reduce social disadvantage and provide shelter. 


north coast population growth 2001 to 2016 400x350px

north coast household composition forecast 2016 to 2036 834x504px

Having a ready supply of well-located land for residential development will create downward pressure on house prices, maximise the use of existing infrastructure and ensure that environmentally sensitive areas are avoided. Mapped urban growth areas have identified land in sustainable locations to cater for overall housing needs.

The graph below shows the minimum housing supply each local government area should plan to deliver over the next 20 years to meet population growth. Certain councils may not have sufficient capacity in their urban growth areas to satisfy demand. As a priority, councils should work with their local communities to identify appropriate locations to provide an adequate supply of residential land.


The delivery of housing in significant release areas can be accelerated by identifying where upfront investment in local infrastructure can assist land release. The NSW Government’s Housing Acceleration Fund offers funding for new infrastructure projects that support housing supply. Other approaches that can expedite housing delivery include site-specific complying development standards or the potential development of low-rise medium-density complying development.

Construction of large-scale infrastructure projects and seasonal agricultural employment can generate rapid increases in temporary populations and increase pressure on housing and accommodation supply. Peaks in housing demand may be satisfied through seasonal and itinerant workers accommodation. The size and scale of these facilities should be planned in partnership with local communities, and issues such as social integration, land use conflicts and impacts on community facilities need to be considered.

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22.1 Deliver an appropriate supply of residential land within local growth management strategies and local plans to meet the region’s projected housing needs.
22.2 Facilitate housing and accommodation options for temporary residents by:

  • preparing planning guidelines for seasonal and itinerant workers accommodation to inform the location and design of future facilities; and
  • working with councils to consider opportunities to permit such facilities through local environmental plans.

22.3 Monitor the supply of residential land and housing through the North Coast Housing and Land Monitor.


Providing housing diversity and choice will improve affordability, help meet the needs of an ageing population and support the reduction of household size.

To support the changing population and dwelling needs, a 40 per cent target has been set for new dwellings to be in the form of apartments, dual occupancies, townhouses, villas and homes on lots less than 400 square metres, by 2036.

Local growth management strategies should be used to consider local housing needs based on household and demographic changes. These strategies should plan for a range of housing choices, including retirement villages, nursing homes and opportunities to modify existing dwellings to enable occupants to age in place. Strategies should also identify the infrastructure necessary to support local communities and provide access to transport and community services and facilities.

The strategic direction established through local growth management strategies will then be implemented through local planning controls to provide housing choice and diversity, and liveable homes that are responsive to the changing needs of occupants.

Promoting ageing in place should be encouraged by the development of liveable homes that are easy to enter and navigate; responsive to the changing needs of occupants; and relatively easy to adapt (for injured, disabled or elderly residents).

north coast new housing delivery by type 834x354px 


23.1 Encourage housing diversity by delivering 40 per cent of new housing in the form of dual occupancies, apartments, townhouses, villas or dwellings on lots less than 400 square metres, by 2036.
23.2 Develop local growth management strategies to respond to changing housing needs, including household and demographic changes, and support initiatives to increase ageing in place.

Rural residential development has the potential to conflict with valuable agricultural or environmental land, and it requires access to services and facilities. As such, it needs to be planned strategically.


The Settlement Planning Guidelines: Mid and Far North Coast Regional Strategies (2007) can assist with planning for rural residential development and highlight the issues that need to be considered when identifying additional areas for rural residential housing through a local growth management strategy (or rural residential land release strategy). The guidelines will apply on an interim basis until new land release criteria are finalised.


New rural residential housing will not be permitted in the coastal strip, unless the land is already zoned for this purpose, or is identified in a Department endorsed current or future local growth management strategy (or rural residential land release strategy).



24.1 Facilitate the delivery of well-planned rural residential housing areas by:

  • identifying new rural residential areas in a local growth management strategy or rural residential land release strategy endorsed by the Department of Planning and Environment; and
  • ensure that such proposals are consistent with the Settlement Planning Guidelines: Mid and Far North Coast Regional Strategies (2007) or land release criteria (once finalised).


24.2 Enable sustainable use of the region’s sensitive coastal strip by ensuring new rural residential areas are located outside the coastal strip, unless already identified in a local growth management strategy or rural residential land release strategy endorsed by the Department of Planning and Environment.


The North Coast has a high proportion of low income earners and housing in many areas is less affordable than the State average. Appropriate planning controls and incentives can help deliver more affordable housing. A range of tools will be considered through local planning, such as: 

  • bonus development provisions, where a percentage of affordable housing is included in a proposal;
  • reduced contributions or other development incentives that may boost construction of secondary dwellings as alternative affordable housing;
  • planning incentives or negotiated planning agreements to encourage private investment in social and affordable housing;
  • promotion of new caravan parks and manufactured home estates on unconstrained land in existing settlements and new land release areas in the urban growth areas; and
  • the preparation of local affordability analyses and precinct plans to support local growth management strategies and planning proposals that identify responsive lot size and planning controls.


25.1 Deliver more opportunities for affordable housing by incorporating policies and tools into local growth management strategies and local planning controls that will enable a greater variety of housing types and incentivise private investment in affordable housing.
25.2 Prepare guidelines for local housing strategies that will provide guidance on planning for local affordable housing needs.

Page last updated: 17/09/2019