New Housing Supply Association could benefit key workers, first homebuyers in the Illawarra

NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts at last week's launch. Picture: Ben Williams
NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts at last week's launch. Picture: Ben Williams

Low-cost housing in new residential developments across Sydney and regional NSW will be offered direct to first homebuyers and key workers under a new industry-driven initiative.

NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts launched the newly formed, not-for-profit Housing Supply Association (HSA) in Sydney last week.

The organisation, backed by the NSW government, will work with the government and industry to streamline planning processes and develop effective policies to reduce housing costs.

The not-for-profit organisation will seek to connect first homebuyers and key workers (such as police, ambulance, fire service, nurses, childcare workers and teachers) with opportunities to purchase or rent affordable housing.

“We know from our discussions with key worker associations such as the police, ambulance and fire services that many of their members are travelling long distances just to get to work every day,” HSA chief executive Bill Pickering said.

“If you work in the Illawarra that doesn’t mean you can afford to purchase a home locally or have enough income to rent near where you work, particularly if you are young and starting on a basic wage.

“Some key workers travel up to four to five hours a day just to get to and from their workplace. The HSA is all about supporting those workers who protect our communities, and giving young people an opportunity to achieve the dream of buying their first home.”

Affordable properties will be made available for purchase and rental through the HSA, with caveats placed on sales to first homebuyers to ensure they are not on-sold for profit.

Criteria and allocations for rental property applicants will be determined by a sub-committee comprising representatives of key worker associations.

The HSA will also work with government and industry to secure property exclusively for those who need it most, with many properties at potentially 20 to 30 per cent below market value.

Property allocation will also focus on ex-servicemen and women, and people with disabilities.

HSA vice-president Aras Labutis said suitable developments for the HSA’s target market are under way or in the pipeline.

Mr Roberts welcomed HSA’s commitment to help break the cycle of the spiralling property market.

“I commend the formation of the not-for-profit HSA to assist in tackling these challenges and look forward to working hand-in-hand with all participants to break down the barriers for future generations of new home owners and renters and helping key workers to live where they work,” he said.