Fed up with bearing the blame for the housing crisis, local councils are demanding an urgent meeting with NSW Premier, key Ministers, and planning bureaucrats.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Darriea Turley stressed that councils have consistently aimed for a cooperative and constructive relationship with the State Government to alleviate the housing crisis.
“Making councils the whipping boy is disingenuous and it has to stop,” Councillor Turley said.
Councillor Turley went on to point out statistics that counter the criticism levelled at councils:
- Councils have approved 97% of all Development Applications (DAs).
- They have already met the 2022/23 state housing targets by approving over 85,095 dwellings.
- More DAs are being approved than constructions commencing, with 103,460 DAs determined but only 83,419 construction certificates lodged over the last two financial years.
- Even fewer homes are being completed, as only 70,886 occupation certificates were requested over the same 24-month period.
“These are the Government’s own figures, and the rhetoric being bandied about in State Parliament and in the media is nothing more than convenient fiction,” she added.
The LGNSW President identified land banking as a significant issue. Some developers, she said, are holding back on building approved homes to maintain high property prices and thereby their profits.
“All you hear from the development industry is the need for less regulation and faster approvals,” Cllr Turley commented.
She also highlighted other stumbling blocks such as a 20% rise in the cost of materials, labour shortages, and high interest rates affecting smaller developers who initially had the intent to proceed.
“The business model for most developers and builders requires them to carry debt, so the spike in interest rates makes it uneconomic for them to proceed,” Cllr Turley stated.
It’s time to cease the blame game, she said, advocating for a roundtable discussion involving local government, state ministers, planning bureaucrats, and developers.
“We are all stakeholders, and we all want to find a solution to the housing crisis,” she concluded.