In July 2021 the NSW Government established a Regional Housing Taskforce (the taskforce) in response to increasing pressures on the supply and affordability of housing in Regional NSW.
A combination of factors is putting more pressure on housing supply in regional NSW.
A strong economy means more people are choosing to stay in the regions and work in jobs close to where they live. COVID-19 has transformed the way people live and work with more people choosing to move out of our cities.
The taskforce is charged with investigating regional housing issues and the planning barriers people are experiencing in buying, renting and building a place to live in the regions.
Findings Report from state-wide consultation
The taskforce has prepared an independent Findings Report that summarises the key findings of the consultation, engagement and research it undertook in July and August 2021, that is being considered by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.
The report contains feedback and insights from 168 submissions and more than 500 people who participated in 11 virtual meetings, various one-on-one sessions and other events the taskforce presented to during consultation.
The taskforce heard from councils and representatives from community groups, the housing, not-for-profit and development sectors, Local Aboriginal Land Councils, business groups and members of the public from all regions in the state to identify barriers in the planning system to housing supply and affordability.
Key findings in the report include:
- More effort is needed to prioritise, coordinate, fund and deliver infrastructure to support new homes
- A need for collaboration between all levels of Government, the housing development industry, and the community to develop the right type of housing that people need where they want to live
- Calls to speed up planning processes and reduce duplication, particularly where opportunities to provide housing are time-critical
- Faster rezoning and approvals won’t solve the problem alone and that industry, councils and government need to work together to turn approvals into completions
- Demand for more affordable and diverse housing in line with changing demographics, jobs growth, natural disasters, and migration trends
- The impacts of COVID-19 on migration
- Hardship due to the 2019-20 bushfires placing stress on crisis accommodation.
The taskforce is closely considering all feedback and submissions in the preparation of a second independent report that it will provide to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, outlining how we can better use the planning system to address housing needs and stimulate supply in the regions.
The taskforce is led by Newcastle-based independent planning expert Garry Fielding as Chair.
Mr Fielding is a qualified town planner with more than 40 years’ experience in State and local government and the private sector. He has worked at senior executive levels with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and also as head planner with Newcastle, Woollahra and Maitland Councils.
Mr Fielding is a Life Fellow and former NSW President of the Planning Institute of Australia and is the State-appointed Chair of the Western Regional Planning Panel.
The taskforce also comprises senior experts from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Department of Regional NSW.
For any further enquiries to the Regional Housing taskforce email [email protected]