Strong majority backs requiring developers to build affordable housing
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Strong majority backs requiring developers to build affordable housing

Almost 80 per cent of Australians think governments should insist that all new housing developments contain dedicated affordable housing, according to a new survey.

The survey of more than 1000 respondents, commissioned by the community housing sector, comes as the Baird government has been preparing new policies to address social and affordable housing in Sydney and NSW.

But the government's delay in releasing those policies has frustrated affordable housing advocates, who fear major development projects will not include dedicated housing for people on middle and lower incomes.

According to the survey, by polling company Essential, 79 per cent of respondents agreed with the proposition that governments "should insist that every new housing development contains some affordable housing".

The government's plan to build 10,000 homes at Olympic Park should include affordable units, according to the community housing sector.

The government's plan to build 10,000 homes at Olympic Park should include affordable units, according to the community housing sector.

Photo: Department of Planning
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Wendy Hayhurst, the chief executive of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, which commissioned the poll, said: "For our city to continue to thrive economically, we need to make decisions now that will ensure everyone has somewhere affordable to live close to where they work.

"We're talking about childcare workers, nurses, teachers, cleaners, and construction workers," she said.

The survey also found that only 28 per cent of people said they were confident the next generation would be able to have the same standard of housing as the current generation. And it showed that 63 per cent of people said they would accept less growth in their own home's value if it meant improved affordability for their children.

One mooted policy to increase the supply of affordable housing in Sydney and NSW is the idea of "inclusionary zoning", which would require developers to dedicate a portion of new projects for middle and low-income earners.

Paramedic Gareth Copeland, who has to travel over an hour to his job in Ryde, from his home in Gosford.

Paramedic Gareth Copeland, who has to travel over an hour to his job in Ryde, from his home in Gosford.

Photo: James Brickwood

Inclusionary zoning policies have been used by only a handful of councils in Sydney.

Ms Hayhurst said such policies should be used in state government development initiatives.

"It is great the NSW government has announced there will be 10,000 new homes at Olympic Park," she said. "Even better would have been a commitment to 30 per cent being affordable rental housing, including shared and low-cost ownership."

"And we need to make those decisions now in other areas such as the Sydenham/Bankstown corridor, Waterloo and Parramatta Road before the opportunity is gone."

The NSW Labor opposition has been calling for inclusionary zoning policies, and developers such as Frasers and Payce have said they are open to a scheme, depending on its details.

One of the many problems generated by Sydney's housing affordability crisis is the difficulty essential service workers have in living near to where they need to work.

Jacob Saulwick

Jacob Saulwick is City Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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