- Infrastructure to get a major boost from the budget.
- $300 million has been delegated to Landcom for new dwellings.
- The Budget has garnered a positive reception, with some reservations.
New South Wales Treasurer, Daniel Mookhey, has handed down the 2023-24 NSW budget, with the introduction of a $2.2 billion Housing and Infrastructure plan emerging as a significant move to alleviate the state’s housing crisis.
The plan includes:
- $300 million reinvested in Landcom to accelerate the construction of a thousand new dwellings, with 30% for affordable housing,
- $400 million reserved in Restart NSW to deliver infrastructure that will unlock housing across the state, and
- $1.5 billion for housing-related infrastructure through the Housing and Productivity Contribution.
Mookhey said a large chunk of the $2.2 billion funnelling towards infrastructure is a move to enable future growth.
“If we don’t build the streets, no one will build the homes,” he said.
The Budget also includes a suite of other measures addressing faster planning, essential housing, and more.
This includes the $38.7 million Faster Planning Program, which delivers benefits such as home buyer protection from substandard buildings, and other system improvements; an investment of $224 million to support the Essential Housing Package, which addresses several key housing access issues, and other reform measures.
Property Council of Australia welcomes budget
Property Council Western Sydney’s director, Ross Grove, welcomed the additional funding for infrastructure to support a growing regional population but noted the budget falls short of providing funding certainty for full-length upgrades of Mamre Road, Elizabeth Drive, and Badgerys Creek Roads – all of which are critical to delivering new employment lands and jobs closer to home.
“We know the first Budget of any new government is one of the hardest to deliver and it is pleasing to see the focus on addressing the housing crisis and addressing the chronic shortage of homes across New South Wales,” he said.
“The good news is the government has a market-led agenda on housing supply, but we need to be careful this doesn’t come at the expense of unlocking employment lands required to support our growing population.
“Unemployment at a national level might be quite low, but there are still several patches of Western Sydney where this is not the case and this needs to be addressed by providing jobs closer to home.
“Our industry needs a plan from government to get roads and water infrastructure moving in Mamre Road and the Aerotropolis. Our members are ready and able to provide new warehouses, industries and jobs – but they simply can’t get the road capacity to make it happen.
“These areas are a goldmine when it comes to future jobs and productivity and as taxpayers, we simply can’t afford to spend $13 billion on building an international airport without also delivering the employment generating activities that are required to make the most this investment.
Property Council NSW executive director, Katie Stevenson, said, “Treasurer Mookhey’s Budget sets the foundations for the NSW Government to tackle the state’s housing supply and affordability crisis.”
“Landcom and LAHC are major beneficiaries in this Budget, resourcing them to upscale the delivery of affordable and social homes across the state, including in our regions,” she added.
Stevenson praised the focus on improving the planning system, along with the focus on social and affordable housing and investigating artificial intelligence, two key reform asks in the industry body’s Housing Outcomes report.
Real Estate Institute of NSW’s reservations
“The glaring omission is on how this will be achieved,” he said.
“The $224 million for the Essential Housing Package and the minimal commitment of a few thousand public housing dwellings over the long term won’t scratch the surface in the context of the enormity of the housing crisis.
“Tangible and significant supply outcomes are needed but they have not been forthcoming.
“To encourage new housing supply, we need to incentivise developers to proceed with projects, noting the challenges of rising materials and labour costs.
“Tax reform is the clear opportunity to improve new project feasibility. Holding local Governments to account to meet the required new housing targets in their areas is another opportunity.”
McKibbin also took issue with the Government’s rental reforms, noting:
“It’s important to remember that the provision of social and affordable housing is Government’s job. It’s not the job of private investors.
“The impact of tenant-centric legislation has been to vastly shrink the rental pool. More investors are selling their properties and as such, tenants have less choice.
“Regrettably, this Budget appears to commit the Government to the existing data-ignorant approach which has made the rental crisis so much worse.
“We need to flip the script and begin to encourage investors to make properties available for rent. This demands a reconsideration of current proposed reforms which seek to divide the interests of tenants and landlords.
“Ideally, the tenant-landlord relationship should be symbiotic, based on fairness and respect, yet the Government’s reforms promote an adversarial environment in which disputes are encouraged, which harms everyone involved.”
UDIA says NSW Government has ‘risen to the challenge’
Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) CEO, Steve Mann, says that although this Budget is a positive step, he notes that an enlarged Department of Planning needs to maintain a laser-like focus on deploying new resources where they are needed most: to fast-track development assessments, and support better coordination and delivery of enabling infrastructure such as water, power, sewer and roads.
“The Government should also be congratulated on adopting our recommendation to make upfront investment to kick start delivery of enabling infrastructure to unlock housing supply,” he said.