Sunday, June 23, 2024

Property Council call to ‘red card’ councils that miss housing target

Property Council NSW Executive Director, Katie Stevenson says keeping councils accountable for delivery on tougher housing targets will be essential in helping NSW meet its National Housing Accord commitment.

“Targets mean nothing without accountability,” said Ms Stevenson.

“It is vital we don’t just tell councils where to aim, but they need to be supported by a robust incentive and penalty regime to bring more clarity, focus and momentum behind collective efforts to deliver NSW’s housing target.

“NSW is on the hook to deliver close to 377,000 new homes over the five years of the National Housing Accord – some 75,000 homes per year. In Greater Sydney, housing completions over the 12 months to December 2023 were well below this target at just over 46,000 – the lowest level over any 12-month period since March 2015.

“Added to this, the backlog of DAs still sitting with council or state government for decision requires urgent attention, and the government should fund a program as part of the upcoming State Budget to clear DAs that have been awaiting decision for more than six months,” she said.

In its Pre-Budget Submission, the Property Council of Australia called on the NSW Government to establish a Housing Incentive Fund to reward local councils that meet or exceed their housing targets with additional funds for community projects.

“This would give councils who meet housing completion targets access to an incentive-style payment over and above normal funding arrangements, and which streamlines the increasingly complex range of grant funding available to support housing supply,” Ms Stevenson said.

The NSW Government today announced a $200 million incentive program that will see grants awarded to councils who meet or beat their targets. The grants will fund more green spaces, sporting facilities and smaller pocket parks, along with maintenance of local streets and footpaths that councils maintain, the Government said.

“We’ve also called for a model of “minimum housing targets” and a firmer commitment to deliver on additional housing supply through a red card model, allowing the NSW Government to step in to take planning consent away from councils that consistently fail to meet their targets,” said Ms Stevenson.

“While many local councils are working tirelessly to deliver on their housing targets, more needs to be done to ensure all councils are delivering their fair share of additional supply as part of a minimum standard expected for local councils.

“Under a red card model, the government could identify underperforming councils and precincts, and use existing tools available in the planning system to encourage delivery.

“Local councils play a pivotal role in helping NSW meet its housing target. We need effective collaboration between local councils and government, together with robust monitoring, to achieve our housing targets and make housing more affordable,” Ms Stevenson said.

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