The Mercury has asked all candidates who provided an email address to the electoral commission to answer the following question: what measures do you think councils should take to encourage the development of more affordable homes?
Those who responded prior to our deadline have their answers included below, listed in the order on the ballot.
Answers have not been edited.
GROUP A – GREENS
Mithra Cox (Mayoral candidate)
*Secure, affordable housing is essential to having a good life. Having a secure place to call home allows people to put down roots and have a strong connection to their community. Housing is a complex policy area, and The Greens are committed to working at a local, state and federal level to ensure that everyone has a place to call home. We should have affordable housing targets, with at least 30% of new housing developments being set aside for affordable housing.
*The community needs affordable housing and that requires meaningful targets for new developments. The only ones who will lose out are landholders who want to make windfall profits.
*The Greens have a plan to triple rates on vacant investment properties to encourage investors to rent out these properties for rental accommodation. This would also raise revenue that council could use to build new affordable housing.
On 17 July, Wollongong Council resolved to begin the discussion on the preparation of a new Housing Strategy for the City .I support measures to actively engage those who are struggling with housing to have active input into the consultation.
GROUP B – LABOR
*Complete the Housing Strategy that was progressed at Council’s July 17 meeting.
*The Strategy should include ‘inclusionary zoning’, where a proportion of new development’s value is captured to fund affordable rentals administered by a community-based organisation.
*Lobby for Wollongong to be covered by the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP 70) - Affordable Housing.
*Council land, especially in West Dapto, used to provide high-quality affordable housing – to increase supply and as an example for the private sector. Shared ownership models (between residents and financiers) can be explored for this housing.
*Support State Government measures such as a non-occupancy tax and stamp duty concessions for retirees looking to downsize.
*Support negative gearing reforms at the Federal level.
GROUP C – LIBERAL
This answer is two tiered. How do we maintain the value of current residential stock while still allowing for ecologically sensible urban growth? I think council needs to look at minimum block sizes. There is a possibility that current restraints are too unrealistic to satisfy the current market expectation and needs.
Council needs to take a stronger position on being the provider of available savings that can be achieved through better water usage and more efficient management of household electrical use.
Council should also have data available so households can consider alternatives to mains power supply. The advances in solar have been dramatic over the past years and those developments should be collated and continually updated on the council website.
GROUP D – Independent
Warwick Erwin, Independent (Mayoral candidate)
Options need to be looked at in council and what can be done under the planning laws. Requiring developers to have a percentage of the development for affordable house is one idea and that may be able to be done under the review of the 2009 LEP except for land under State control due to State Significant Sites. Affordable housing has two branches to me.
The affordable to buy housing and the affordable to rent housing. The affordable to rent may be an area where council can develop housing in partnership with state and non-government stakeholders.
Greg Petty (Mayoral candidate)
Affordable Homes fails a basic test, it cannot be measured. What is affordable in WA is not the same as NSW say, or vice versa. Creating stock of affordable homes by reducing smaller block sizes has only seen the rapid rise in cost of these developable sites, this is surely defeating the purpose it was meant. To solve Then, with smaller block sizes, we are seeing denser population per square kilometre. The road are severely constricted already negating any benefits.
We need the State and Federal Governments to create high speed train networks from Wollongong servicing Sydney and Canberra.