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Regional update

March 18, 2019

NSW Election battle lines a warning signal for residential construction

As HIA continues to argue for common sense in the positioning of the political parties on housing policies there are some worrying signs emerging on a number of fronts. Both parties claim to support housing supply on the one hand but are also advocating policy positions that would achieve the exact opposite. The messaging around housing is conflicted at best, yet they all know that they can’t have a strong NSW economy without a strong housing construction industry.

Consider the following as examples:

  • Medium Density Housing Code – the Berejiklian Government announced an exemption some months ago, until after the March election, for more than 50 councils to this long awaited and important state code. NSW Labor leader Michael Daley has said he will scrap the code altogether. How do these positions improve supply and provide certainty? HIA is calling for an immediate lifting of the council exemptions and for the parties to support medium density development as a priority.
  • Housing supply targets – the coalition Government has introduced targets for local government areas on housing supply but need to get tougher on holding those local jurisdictions to account for delivery (especially in Sydney). As the election draws closer, the Coalition are even suggesting supply has outstripped infrastructure delivery and hinting at a rethink to targets in certain areas such as Ryde. Labor have said they want a full review of these local area targets and a fairer distribution of supply targets. How do these positions improve supply and provide certainty?
  • HIA is calling for existing targets to be met, hold the councils to account for delivery and any reviews to not impede the supply of housing overall. Also, a strong hands-on centralised infrastructure delivery unit approach within Government would improve coordination between utilities and hasten prioritised delivery of infrastructure required.

Approvals data is showing clearly that the pipeline of new housing is drying up quickly. Industry needs greater certainty to invest and the political parties need to be very clear on their housing supply targets to meet the need of a growing NSW population and a strong economy.


See HIA’s Key Platforms for the NSW Election