Regional Housing Taskforce submission addresses Coffs housing crisis

Coffs Harbour City Council has lodged a submission to the Regional Housing Taskforce detailing local issues around housing shortages in the area. Photo: Emma Darbin.


COFFS Harbour City Council has lodged a submission with the newly formed Regional Housing Taskforce in a bid to help address the current housing crisis affecting the local area.

The Taskforce was formally announced in June 2021 by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes to identify challenges in the planning system that are preventing the delivery of housing supply in regional NSW.

The Taskforce will focus on technical planning barriers to new housing and will formulate recommendations to improve housing outcomes in regional NSW.

The Taskforce will submit its findings and recommendations to Minister Stokes in September and October 2021.

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

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.

On 22 July 2021, Council resolved to develop an Affordable/Social Housing Policy which will delve into the issues as they related to Coffs Harbour at a local government level.

Council’s submission to the Regional Housing Taskforce also stated that the “rate of supply to market is lagging”.

“Recent developments by not-for-profits (such as Mission Australia) and private developers within the Coffs Harbour City Centre have not been built to achieve the maximum density and height allowances which are permissible,” the submission stated.

The submission also called on regional areas that are receiving high growth rates due to the ‘flee change’ from cities to be provided with financial assistance to support the provision of diverse housing stock.

The submission also recognises homelessness in the community as an outcome of the issues in housing affordability, housing supply and adequacy of social housing in the region.

Council proposed nine initiatives in its submission for the NSW Government to support housing delivery in the region including:

● Assisting delivery of diverse forms of housing
● Supporting Councils to expedite local strategic planning and statutory amendments
● Providing financial assistance to Councils
● Assisting with timely infrastructure delivery
● Introducing a Housing State Environmental Planning Policy
● Investigating general incentives for developers
● Investigating regional incentives for developers
● Referring to overseas experience
● Providing information and education to reduce stigma

Councillors unanimously voted to endorse and lodge the Council submission to the Regional Housing Taskforce.



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