Comprehensive Housing Supply Strategy

08 June 2010

The Government says it has a two-year $183.9 million Comprehensive Housing Supply Strategy. This package focuses on seven key areas:

1. Stamp duty cuts and exemptions for off the plan purchases of new dwellings at a cost of $120 million over the next 2 years (see the above section for details).

2. Stamp duty exemptions for changeover homebuyers who are over 65 purchasing in the next 2 years at a cost of $20 million (see the above section for details).

3. Capping local government development contributions

A cap on local government development contributions for new residential dwellings will be introduced and councils will be allowed to fund legitimate infrastructure costs that exceed the cap. The cap came into force yesterday (details are available here)

4. Assistance to local councils to fast track development at a cost of $35 million over two years

“Priority” councils can share in a $5 million Local Contribution Facilitation Fund when they fast-track local development contribution plans. Once completed, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal will assess these plans against revised guidelines and regulations that allow councils to recover (through rates) essential infrastructure costs arising from developing land.

Councils will be assisted to bring forward completion of comprehensive LEPs, which incorporate housing and employment targets through the provision over 2 years of $10 million from a Local Environmental Plan (LEP) Acceleration Fund. The focus of the program will be on priority councils in Sydney, the Lower Hunter and the Illawarra.

Councils that exceed their average residential building approvals and demonstrate superior performance against development assessment timeframes will be rewarded through a new two-year $20 million Building Approval Advancement Fund. This apparently assists councils with additional infrastructure costs associated with growth.

5. Accelerating planning reforms at a cost of $8.9 million

Additional funding of $2.9 million will be provided to the Department of Planning over the next two years to facilitate the comprehensive LEP program and accelerate spot rezoning outcomes. A review of development regulations and development control plans will identify and remove inappropriate restrictions on housing development. The Department of Planning will also review its spot rezoning guidelines and principles by October 2010. The focus will be on council planning proposal assessment processes and the Department’s role in the review process.

Funding has been provided for a $2 million two-year pilot Council Assistance Scheme to help high growth councils process development applications. This scheme will allow for the processing of development applications in excess of 1,000 new dwellings a year.

$2 million will be provided for the upcoming Transit Oriented State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) that aims to streamline rezoning processes for nominated sites near transport infrastructure.

A total of $2 million has been allocated to support initiatives around land release. The existing “sustainability criteria” will be replaced with “more transparent and clear criteria” for assessing new land release proposals. This will be supported by a new framework for assessing proposals to be included on the Metropolitan Development Program and a review of the Growth Centres land release sequence.

6. Strong governance arrangements to implement the strategy

Coordination between State agencies will apparently be improved through a new Land and Housing Supply Coordination Taskforce.

The Taskforce will have an Independent Chair and include key Chief Executive Officers and two other independents. It will be serviced by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, rather than the Department of Planning.

The Taskforce will be charged with implementing the Comprehensive Housing Supply Strategy including implementing strategic planning targets through councils, making recommendations on council payments, and overseeing a review of development regulations.

In addition it will identify and remove obstructions to the release of land, delivery of infrastructure and other necessary approvals.

7. National Rental Housing Affordability Scheme (NRAS)

The NSW Government will continue to participate in this scheme.