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Greens call on Government to drop the ban on affordable housing for Wollongong council

Media Release: Greens call on Government to drop the ban on affordable housing for Wollongong council


The state government ban on Councils mandating affordable housing through local planning controls is hurting residents and lining the pockets of developers, according to Greens Councillor candidate Jamie Dixon.


There is a state-wide planning policy (called SEPP 70 or State Environmental Planning Policy 70) that sets out how councils can require developers to provide affordable housing, but it expressly excluded 95% of councils in NSW and this includes Wollongong. 


Wollongong has not been permitted to use SEPP 70 despite writing a lengthy submission and being one of the most unaffordable cities in Australia when you compare wages with house prices.


Greens Councillor Jamie Dixon said: 


"There is a housing crisis in Wollongong.  People are sleeping in the sand dunes and the picnic shelters at the beach.


"Many others are couch surfing or living day to day with friends, family or in other impermanent accommodation. 


"There are virtually no homes for rent in the entire city that are affordable for anyone on Newstart.  Even if you are on an average Wollongong wage, you can't afford to buy. 


"Yet the state government is actively preventing Council from setting affordable housing goals for major new developments.  This is worsening the housing affordability crisis, and only helps big developers maximise their profits," Jamie Dixon said today.


NSW Greens MP and Planning spokesperson David Shoebridge said: 


“Across NSW housing costs are spiralling out of control, and Local Councils are at the forefront of addressing this. 


“All councils should be allowed to set affordable housing targets for major new developments. 


“Housing prices in the Illawarra have skyrocketed in the past ten years, along with the rest of NSW.


"The Greens believe local councils are best place to understand their community's housing needs and set sensible and attainable affordable housing targets so that everyone gets a home," Mr Shoebridge said. 


Media Contact: Jamie Dixon 0403 402 114, David Shoebridge 0408 113 952.