Regional Housing report reveals need for more infrastructure and Govt collaboration

The Regional Housing Taskforce has released its findings into the current housing crisis in regional areas of NSW. Photo: Emma Darbin.

 

THE Regional Housing Taskforce has released its findings into factors affecting housing in regional areas.

In July 2021, the NSW Government established the Regional Housing Taskforce in response to increasing pressures on the supply and affordability of housing in regional NSW.

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The taskforce was 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.

An independent report from the Taskforce has now been released by the NSW Government which reveals:
● 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

Coffs Harbour City Council lodged a submission to the Taskforce last month in a bid to help address the current housing crisis affecting the local area.

Council stated in its submission that “changes in migration patterns and housing preferences resulting from COVID-19, growing unaffordability, low rental vacancy rates and mismatches between supply and demand are increasingly placing pressure on regional communities”.

Council recommended in its submission that a “whole of government approach be adopted” to identify which matters can be addressed at which level of government.

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the Regional Housing Taskforce report details feedback from consultation with more than 500 people across regional NSW.

“The Regional Housing Taskforce’s report gives us a clear picture of the unique factors affecting housing in each regional community, and I want to thank every person who took part for their contributions,” Mr Stokes said.

“The report confirms COVID-19 has accelerated an existing trend of people moving from the city to the bush, and this has had an acute impact on regional housing markets.

“The findings tell us what regional communities need to better support their housing needs and I look forward to receiving the taskforce’s detailed recommendations in October.”

Chair of the Regional Housing Taskforce Garry Fielding said the Taskforce would now prepare recommendations for the NSW Government to consider this month.

“The community’s feedback will be used to develop recommendations outlining how the planning system can address housing needs and stimulate supply,” Mr Fielding said.

“I want to thank each person who gave us their time and ideas to help us prepare such a comprehensive report that identifies housing trends, what we’ve heard, detailed findings and the next steps.”

The findings of the Taskforce may result in changes to NSW housing policies, planning law and future updates of the North Coast Regional Plan.

To review the Regional Housing Taskforce report findings visit www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/regional-housing.

 

By Emma DARBIN

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