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 B – LIBERAL
I have recently read a proposal involvong a collaborative approch involving community housing providers, NSW Council of Social Services, the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, Shelter NSW, RDA and Western Sydney University titled "Doors to Home Ownership".
Councils has the opportunity to support the NSW State Government in unlocking land for the sole purpose of accomodating affordable housing and encouraging pattnerships with Community Housing Providers to invest in areas within the Illawarra Local Government Area. It is every person's dream to be able to afford and purchase their own home regardless of socioeconomic status.
The proposal incorporates the assisting the move of tennants from social into affordable housing with the opporrtunity to purchase the dwelling in the furure whilst teh CHP has the ability to reinvest in further housing.
My Team and i would like to further investigate this proposal and assist with it moving forward.
GROUP C – Independent/ALP members “Our Community Matters”
In relation to affordable housing, any local housing strategy developed by council must focus on the retention of existing affordable housing and development of new stock. Closer liaising with Department of Housing and other agencies needs to exist to ensure houses are not left empty, like many I have seen while letterboxing.
Affordable housing needs to be a consideration in the development of any Local Environment Plans to the point where (subject to State planning policies), new subdivisions could contain a quota of affordable housing in line with community needs identified through social planning.
The steps I would take to reduce the strain on household budgets would include:
1. No more special rates increases
2. A review of our rates system to ensure equity, especially low income earners purchasing affordable housing.
3. Regular kerbside pickups (council clean ups)
4. Review of the current policy of admission fees to our pools
GROUP D – Independent/ALP members: Community First for Shellharbour City
Affordable Housing is a key issue for the Federal and State Governments. Councils can advocate and support State & Federal initiatives that increase stocks of affordable housing.
Councils can encourage investors (housing providers) to increase stocks of affordable housing. Councils can work to see where incentives can be offered to support investors and housing providers with their developments.
·Advocate strongly to Federal Government to increase funding in National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) so there can be an increase in social/public housing stock over next 15-20 years.
·Support schemes that increase stock at the affordable housing end.
·Advocate to increase youth incomes so they can better afford to enter the housing markets.
·Encourage the construction of affordable housing by offering incentives where possible to developments which includes it.
·Ensure community housing providers are encouraged to design, develop appropriate social housing and provide support and encouragement to those providers including reduced costs for development applications, rate waivers etc where possible.
GROUP E – Independent
Shellharbour Council because of its' multimillion dollar backlog of infrastructure projects is not in a financial position to provide affordable housing. However dedicated not-for-profit affordable housing providers can access significant tax concessions which extend their capacity to provide affordable housing. Group E would actively encourage these organisations.
There isn't clarity as to whether Local Governments can impose requirements for developers to provide a component of affordable housing in developments. The NSW Govt imposes the regulatory controls via the Local Environment Plan and Local Governments are not able to use section 94 funds to build affordable housing.
GROUP H – Independent
Given that state governments choose not to mandate social and affordable housing in new developments local government should be given the power to do so in areas of greatest need. There should be a trade off by allowing for accelerated approval of develooments that do provide such housing types.
GROUP I – Kellie Marsh Independents Team
Home affordability for single and low income families in Shellharbour is not existent. Kellie Marsh Independent Team supports council forming a Home affordability Committee to work collaboratively with community. We propose bringing together community representatives, social services experts, builders, council, TAFE NSW and the private sector to work collaboratively and in a cost effective manner to deliver genuine affordable community driven housing in Shellharbour.
Council needs to be at the forefront of offering a solution for current and future generations.
GROUP J – LABOR
Housing is predominantly a state issue, however, Shellharbour Council has done more than its share to open up new land for development and provide affordable housing. Calderwood valley is being taken up mostly by locals at affordable prices.
A property built under the NSW affordable housing SEPP is only offered once as affordable because any resale is at property value (supply & demand). In order to really provide affordable houses there needs to be an overhaul of the current system and a serious look at how other jurisdictions and countries provide affordable housing.