In June 2021 the NSW Government established the Regional Housing Taskforce (the Taskforce) in response to increasing pressures on the supply and affordability of housing in Regional NSW.
The Taskforce consulted widely with local government, experts from the development and housing sectors, community housing providers and regional communities across the state.
The 5 main recommendations:
- Support measures that bring forward a supply of 'development ready' land.
- Increase the availability of affordable and diverse housing across regional NSW.
- Provide more certainty about where, when and what types of homes will be built.
- Investigate planning levers to facilitate the delivery of housing that meets short-term needs.
- Improve monitoring of housing and policy outcomes and demand indicators.
In August 2022, the NSW Government adopted all recommendations of the Regional Housing Taskforce as part of a comprehensive response to support delivery of 127,000 new homes needed to house the growing population of the regions over the next 10 years.
The response includes newly-funded commitments announced as part of the NSW Government’s $2.8 billion 2022 Housing Package.
The whole-of-government response includes:
- a $33.8 million Regional Housing Development Program that will provide:
- up to $12 million in grant funding over four years to support regional councils in planning for housing through the Regional Housing Strategic Planning Fund, with up to $4 million available now for the first round
- funding to expand urban development programs into high-growth regional areas
- funding to improve regional housing data to actively manage the housing supply pipeline.
- up to $120 million to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure to enable new houses, such as water, sewerage, electricity, roads, stormwater and fantastic public open spaces, as part of the expanded $300 million Accelerated Infrastructure Fund Round 3
- $174 million to deliver more than 270 homes for key workers that are needed in the regions such as teachers, nurses and police
- refining the Seasonal and Temporary Workers Accommodation Toolkit to support councils in managing seasonal and temporary workers accommodation.
The government response also includes a number of state-wide programs that will have a significant positive impact on putting a suitable roof over the head of people in the regions, including:
- $300 million to upgrade more than 15,800 social homes across the state
- $217 million to improve housing outcomes for Aboriginal people across NSW and support for the Aboriginal Community Housing sector, the majority of which will be spent in regional areas such as Menindee, Broken Hill, Coonamble and Cobar
- $780.4 million to help up to 6,000 single parents, older singles and key workers across NSW buy a home through a pilot 2-year shared equity scheme
- $162.6 million to address uncertainty and blockages in the planning system and unlock more housing sooner through faster planning assessments accelerated rezoning of key housing precincts and council-led rezonings in Sydney and the regions.
The government response builds on momentum from significant work already completed and underway to speed up the delivery of homes through the planning system, deliver infrastructure to enable new housing and support the work of regional councils. It is closely aligned with the NSW Housing Strategy: Housing 2041.
It also builds on the NSW Government's initial response to the Taskforce's recommendations, the Regional Housing Fund (RHF) launched in February 2022. This $30 million grant program is helping support 21 high-growth regional councils address increasing housing pressures.
The RHF is helping deliver new infrastructure upgrades and open-space projects that directly support the delivery of new housing supply in regional areas where it is most needed.