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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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One of the objectives of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Act) is to promote the delivery and maintenance of affordable housing.


The Act enables councils to levy contributions for affordable housing. To do this, the Act requires a council’s local government area (LGA) to be named in a state environmental planning policy. State Environmental Planning Policy No. 70 – Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) (SEPP 70) identifies these LGAs.


Once an LGA is named in SEPP 70, a council can seek to amend its local environmental plan (LEP) to have reference to an affordable rental housing contribution scheme and to levy affordable housing contributions.


On 20 April 2018, SEPP 70 was expanded to include five additional councils - Randwick, Inner West, Northern Beaches, Ryde and Canada Bay. In addition to the City of Sydney and Willoughby councils which were already included in SEPP 70, these additional councils can investigate specific affordable housing needs in their local government areas and develop affordable housing contribution schemes.


SEPP 70 has been expanded to include all councils

In February 2019, SEPP 70 was further expanded to include all councils across NSW. The amendment removes the administrative step of entering a LGA into SEPP 70, thereby expediting councils’ ability to investigate and develop an affordable housing contributions scheme. It does so by entering all LGAs into SEPP 70 (thus meeting the Act’s requirements of a council being named in a SEPP).


The next step in the process will be for councils to prepare affordable housing contribution schemes and amend their local environmental plans to reference the schemes. It is optional for a council to develop an affordable housing contribution scheme.


An Explanation of Intended Effect for the amendment was exhibited for public comment between 30 November 2018 to 19 December 2018.


Affordable Housing Contributions Guideline

The Department has developed a guideline for councils to help prepare affordable housing contribution schemes. The guideline will ensure consistency in the way schemes are prepared and give greater clarity to communities and developers about the affordable housing contribution levies planned for their areas.


You can access the Guideline for developing an affordable housing contribution scheme which steps out the process and considerations for making an affordable housing contribution scheme.


SEPP 70 Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme Viability Tool 

The Department has developed the SEPP70 Affordable Housing Viability Tool (the Tool) to assist councils in developing an affordable housing contribution scheme under the Guideline. 


The Tool serves to help councils determine a viable affordable housing contribution rate for new residential floor space associated with development in planned precincts in line with the Greater Sydney Commission’s affordable housing target of 5 to 10 per cent.


Councils may access a password protected version of the tool via our Planning Portal, and a copy of the Tool is available here for public awareness of the factors that would be considered by councils when using the Tool to determine a viable contribution rate. This version of the Tool does not contain any information regarding land prices or development calculations and is not intended to be used for property or development speculation.  


For more information, access the Tool's Frequently Asked Questions.


Affordable rental housing schemes in the City of Sydney

The City of Sydney has affordable housing contribution schemes operating in Ultimo-Pyrmont, Green Square and Southern Employment Lands.


Affordable rental housing dwellings in the City of Sydney are built and managed by City West Housing.


For more information on City West Housing and to access annual reports, please visit City West Housing's website.


For more information regarding how contributions are calculated, please visit City of Sydney’s website.


Ministerial Direction

The Minister has issued the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Planning Agreements) Direction 2019. The Direction requires all local councils to consider a series of matters when negotiating a planning agreement with a developer for the purposes of affordable housing in connection with a development application.


Page last updated: 15/03/2021