Council cautious on affordable housing initiative

Central Coast Council says provision of affordable housing needs to be accompanied by good design

Central Coast Council has guardedly welcomed an announcement from the NSW Government that it will update the BASIX standards alongside a range of initiatives to deliver more quality and affordable homes.

Minister for Planning and Homes, Anthony Roberts, recently announced changes which will develop best practice for liveable and resilient communities – focusing on quality subdivisions, streets and public spaces and net zero targets.

“I have asked the department to proceed with BASIX updates to help people build homes that are more comfortable, save people money on their power bills, and contribute to our net zero target,” Roberts said.

“We want to make it easier to build quality, affordable homes – not harder.

“There are a number of policies already in place to build resilient communities that are designed to withstand the impact of climate change,” he added.

These include a direction issued by the Minister for Planning and Homes to ensure natural hazards are thoroughly considered in decision-making on land use, the Flood-Prone Land Policy, and the natural hazards toolkit for councils, Roberts said.

He said the Government will consider any further measures concerning land use planning from the independent inquiry into floods, currently being conducted with recommendations expected to be handed down on June 30.

Roberts said following consultation with industry and stakeholder groups the Government will not introduce the State Environmental Planning Policy for Design and Place.

While Council welcomed the commitment to deliver better quality, sustainable and affordable homes, a spokesperson said it looked forward to seeing further detail, as housing supply needed to be supported by good design.

“Central Coast Council is disappointed to learn the NSW Government’s proposed Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) will not be introduced,” the spokesperson said.

“Council’s understanding was that the NSW Government, in collaboration with Government Architect NSW, has spent two years developing these significant planning and design reforms that would help create greener, healthier and more resilient neighbourhoods.

“Council acknowledges the need for an adequate supply of housing that is affordable for people across the Central Coast.

“This housing supply should be supported by good design, as we cannot afford to build houses that are not built to withstand the natural hazards we can expect to experience in the future.”

Terry Collins