Independent housing taskforce highlights need for broad collaboration

An independent report recently released by the State Government highlighted the need for collaboration between all levels of government, the housing development industry and the community to develop the right type of housing where people need it, especially in areas such as the Central Coast.

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, with recommendations to be made to the Government in October.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said boosting housing supply will be crucial to supporting the growth of the region, particularly as COVID-19 makes more people realise the benefits of living outside of Greater Sydney.

“In addition to the pressures caused by COVID-19 there will be an extra 95,250 people calling the Central Coast region home by 2041,” Crouch said.

He said feedback from those who made an online submission or took part in virtual meetings with the Regional Housing Taskforce and its chair, Garry Fielding, had been incorporated into the report.

“The Central Coast is a unique part of regional NSW and it is important that the NSW Government considers this when it delivers and implements policy,” Crouch said.

“The Taskforce will now prepare recommendations for the NSW Government to consider, and I look forward to seeing how these support and respond to the needs of the Central Coast community.”

Minister Stokes said the report gives a clear picture of the unique factors affecting housing in each regional community.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Fielding said the taskforce would now prepare its recommendations.

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

Among key issues raised were: greater prioritisation on the coordination and delivery of infrastructure to support new homes; calls to speed up planning processes and reduce duplication, particularly where opportunities to provide housing are time-critical; and demand for more affordable and diverse housing in line with changing demographics, jobs growth, natural disasters, and migration trends.

To review the findings, visit: www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/regional-housing.

Terry Collins

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