Help turn words into action for affordable housing
A NSW Government review of Sydney’s future is seen by the Uniting Church and its allies as a golden opportunity to turn words into action on affordable housing.
With Sydney’s housing now the second-least affordable worldwide, Gladys Berejiklian and her government’s Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) are being urged to act on the Premier’s expressed affordability concerns.
With suggestions aplenty at all levels of government, the Uniting Church supports one state measure backed by planning academics: “inclusionary zoning”, earmarking a percentage of units in new developments for lower-income-affordable rental. Synod urges this in its GSC review submission, alongside Uniting and the Social Justice Forum – which has weighed heavily into a year-long campaign with Sydney Alliance partners.
The GSC’s draft plans include affordability quotas – but Uniting and partners see its 5-10% targets as much too low. They argue for a 15% minimum on private land, and 30% on government land – locked into loophole-free legislation, and applied to all units in new developments, not just the “uplift” added by rezoning.
Similar or higher quotas have been adopted in hundreds of cities worldwide – including London and New York – with no adverse impact on housing prices or supply.
Experts say affordability targets don’t discourage development if they’re a condition of rezoning – reducing only windfall profits (400% and more) large landholders can reap from rezoning, often without building on the land. The Uniting Church and partners argue it’s reasonable that a fair slice of this profit be returned to community benefit as affordable housing.
Take action: Make a Quick Submission to the GSC by March 31. Submissions can be brief, taking only a few minutes.
For more information, email Uniting Social Justice Forum, or call Stafford Sanders on 0412-070-194.
Stafford Sanders is the Uniting Social Justice Forum Campaigns Coordinator.
Pictured: Representatives of Synod, Uniting and its Sydney Alliance affordable housing campaign partners at NSW parliament, Nov 2016.