Essential workers facing housing stress could be a main beneficiary of calls to rezone housing around transport hubs for greater density.
Advocacy group, Housing Now, which represents a mix of essential worker unions, universities and business groups, is urging the NSW government to set far more ambitious density targets around train stations.
It said rezoning the precincts around key Metro stations to deliver three to four times the housing in these precincts would pay for the delivery of 15- 20 per cent affordable housing for teachers, health workers, police, hospitality workers, cleaners and other essential workers.
Health Services Union secretary Gerard Hayes said delivering affordable housing for health workers had reached a critical point.
"Health workers travelling four hours a day because they can't afford to live where they work is bad for workers and bad for patients," he said.
On Tuesday the state government announced a new policy allowing six-storey apartment blocks within 800m of transit hubs and town centres in metro NSW by default.
While not changing any one area's zone, the proposed NSW-wide baseline would green-light more density with the aim of building 112,000 homes in six years.
Committee for Sydney chief executive Eamon Waterford said if done well, higher density can result in places where people from all walks of life have access everything they need.
"A typical hospitality worker would have to spend 79 per cent of their income to rent a typical apartment in Burwood," he said.
"It's clear we need to increase the amount of affordable housing in our city if key workers are going to be able to keep living here."
Group Head of Development at Lendlease,Tom Mackellar, said Australia lacks a progressive approach to housing adopted by some other countries, including government mandated targets to increase affordable housing on public land.
"In Australia, we've been slower to act and we're now playing catch up," he said.
"If we want to future proof our cities and create a more equitable and resilient housing market, we need to embrace housing density and diversity around transport hubs."
Australian Associated Press