NSW Labor Wants Inclusionary Zoning as Part of Affordable Housing Policy

By Andrew Heaton

(image via Luke Foley’s web site)

At least fifteen percent of all new dwellings which are built on privately owned land which has been rezoned for housing across New South Wales and 25 percent of dwellings built on government land will be designated as affordable housing if Labour is elected at the next election, the state opposition says.

Unveiling the latest plank of his party’s policy to address the state’s crisis in housing affordability, NSW State Opposition Leader has outlined his party’s embrace of inclusionary zoning – a concept by which zoning laws are used to ensure that housing which is affordable to low and moderate income providers is provided as new dwellings are constructed.

Under Labour’s plan, at least fifteen percent of all new houses and apartments which are built on land which is privately owned and which has been rezoned for housing will be designated as ‘affordable housing’.

Whilst the statement did not indicate exactly what this means, houses to which this applies are usually given to community housing providers and subsequently rented to people on low to moderate incomes.

When it comes to government-owned land that is being redeveloped, the affordable housing percentage will increase to twenty-five percent.

In addition, Labor has promised to conduct an audit of publicly-owned land to create an affordable housing register and to refocus urban growth in order to prioritise social, affordable and mixed housing development.

The latest announcement comes as Sydney faces significant problems in respect of housing affordability.

Those wishing to enter the market for the first time now have to pay as much as twelve times an annual full-time worker’s income in order to purchase their first home.

Meanwhile, those on low incomes are battling even to find places to rent.

A recent Anglicare survey found that just one percent of all rental properties are affordable to people who are on the minimum wage.

The pronouncements build on previously announced Labor initiatives, including plans to raise the surcharge paid by foreign investors in terms of stamp duty from 4 percent to 7.5 percent, double the land tax surcharge from 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent and tax properties which have been left vacant for more than six months.

Accusing the government of failing to act on affordable housing, Foley said the plan would deliver real outcomes in terms of addressing the state’s housing affordability crisis.

“Labor will take to the next state election a comprehensive plan to level the playing field in favour of home buyers and help those on modest incomes get a roof over their heads,” Foley said.

But Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts hit back, accusing Labor of having presided over low volumes of new housing starts during its previous term in office, accusing the plan of lacking detail and accusing Labor of failing to outline how they would provide infrastructure in order to support their promised initiatives in new home building.

“Luke Foley’s housing policy announcement lacks detail and fails to address the underlying supply issues causing the housing affordability challenges only the Liberals & Nationals can solve,” Roberts said.

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