In June 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.
State-wide consultation phase completed
Throughout August 2021 the taskforce conducted a major listening exercise with a series of 11 virtual roundtable events to hear 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 to identify barriers in the planning system to housing supply and affordability.
The taskforce is grateful for the more than 500 people from all over the state that participated in the roundtable sessions to share the experiences and challenges they are facing in their region and the invaluable insights and potential solutions offered.
The state-wide lockdown brought about by COVID-19 forced the face-to-face forums in the South, West and North online but, if anything, the convenience of virtual meetings enabled us to talk to more people in more parts of regional NSW than we otherwise would have been able to.
The forums involved stakeholders and community members from all NSW regions: the Central Coast and Hunter, North Coast, New England and North West, Central West, Orana and Far West, Riverina Murray, Illawarra Shoalhaven, and the South East and Tablelands.
In addition, the taskforce conducted a number of one-on-one briefings with council and state government elected representatives and other stakeholders and addressed existing forums and events.
The public exhibition period was open until 11.59pm Friday 27 August 2021 for people to have their say and make a formal submission to the taskforce.
The taskforce had received more than 150 formal submissions by the close of exhibition.
The taskforce is closely considering all feedback and submissions in the preparation of an independent report that it will provide to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Stokes, outlining how we can better use the planning system to address housing needs and stimulate supply.
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]