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$2.2 billion housing and infrastructure plan announced in NSW Budget

Housing affordability and availability is “the biggest single pressure” facing NSW residents, the NSW Government declared today as it handed down a $2.2 billion Housing and Infrastructure plan as part of the State Budget.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey, in handing down his first Budget, said the Minns Labor Government would begin to address the “historic neglect” of new housing supply.

The backbone of that plan includes $400 million reserved in Restart NSW to deliver infrastructure that will unlock housing across the state, plus $300 million to be reinvested in Landcom to accelerate the construction of thousands of new homes, with 30 per cent of these to be affordable housing.

There will also be $1.5 billion for housing related infrastructure through the Housing and Productivity Contribution.

The Budget also includes a $38.7 million Faster Planning Program, including $24 million for a NSW Building Commission to protect home buyers from substandards buildings and $9.1 million to assess housing supply opportunities across government-owned sites, including for new social housing.

There will also be $5.6 million for artificial intelligence to make planning systems more efficient and an overhaul of the planning system to simplify it by redirecting resources from the Greater Cities Commission and Western Parkland City Authority.

“Every person across NSW should have access to a safe and secure place to call home,” Mr Mookhey said.

“Housing affordability and availability is the biggest single pressure facing the people of NSW, with mortgage payments or rent the largest expense for most households.

“The Minns Labor Government recognises housing as essential infrastructure and the 2023-24 Budget, lays out a plan to rebuild a neglected system through immediate support and critical long-term planning.”

First home buyers

Among the other big winners are first-home buyers, with five out of six set to benefit from either no stamp duty or a discounted rate.

The First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme will be expanded, with a $30,735 stamp duty discount for purchases between $800,000 and $1 million, while stamp duty will be waived entirely for homes under $800,000.

The government said preliminary numbers showed more than 1000 first home buyers had paid no stamp duty in July, while 650 had received a concession.

The NSW Government will also establish Homes NSW to deliver better outcomes for public and social housing tenants, deliver more affordable and social housing and reduce the number of homeless people in NSW.

Essential Housing Package

This includes a $224 million Essential Housing Package, which comes as the state battles a severe housing shortage, with young people, seniors above the age of 55 and those with no previous history of homelessness unable to secure housing.

“Everyone deserves access to safe and secure shelter,” NSW Premier Chris Minns said.

“This package will be a boost to social and affordable housing and will help break cycles of homelessness.

“This is an important first step as we better support people in some of the most vulnerable situations.

“We have a housing crisis in New South Wales, and we are working across the government to address the challenges.”

The biggest ticket item in the Essential Housing Package is a $70 million financing facility to accelerate the delivery of social and affordable homes, primarily in regional NSW, by funding initial land and site works.

The package also contains $35.3 million for housing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and families through Services Our Way, as well as $35 million to support critical maintenance for social housing.

A further $20 million will be reserved in Restart NSW for dedicated mental health housing, while $15 million will go towards a NSW Housing Fund for priority housing and homelessness measures, and $11.3 million in “urgent funding” will continue the Together Home program, which supports street-sleeping people into stable accommodation.

To that end, a further $11 million will go towards emergency funding for Temporary Accommodation in 2023-24 to support vulnerable people, while $10.5 million will go towards additional funding for the Community Housing Leasing program and $10 million for a Modular Housing Trial to deliver faster quality social housing.

NSW Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Rose Jackson said the Budget begins the long-term work of rebuilding the state’s social and affordable housing system.

“We know there is more work to do but our focus is on directing more money to build social and affordable homes and ensuring everyone in NSW has a safe place to call home,” she said.

Rental reform

Tens of thousands of people renting will receive extra protection from the recent appointment of a state-first NSW Rental Commissioner.

The commissioner will work with the government to make renting fairer, more affordable and more secure.

The government said it was committed to implementing a Portable Rental Bonds Scheme to ease financial pressure, while renters would also be protected from unfair evictions by creating reasonable grounds for ending a lease. 

It will also be easier for renters to have pets in homes.

New build-to-rent trials will be supported on the South Coast and in the Northern Rivers with $60 million.

Other key announcements in the NSW Budget

  • Rebuild essential services and address critical public sector vacancies with a $3.6 billion Essential Services Fund (ESF).The fund will support long-term growth in pay for frontline workers such as nurses, paramedics, health workers, police, firefighters, prison officers, teachers and child protection workers.
  • Investment in NSW Police, including $2 million for an upgrade to the Marine Area Command’s (MAC) Nemesis vessel and a further $7.7 million to build a new police wharf at Balmain.
  • $350 million boost to the new NSW Regional Development Trust Fund to support people living in rural, regional and remote areas by improving local amenities, social cohesion, and job opportunities.
  • An additional $200 million for Restart NSW for the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2, which will connect Parramatta CBD to Sydney Olympic Park via Camellia, Rydalmere, Ermington, Melrose Park and Wentworth Point.
  • An allocation of $561 million to ease the cost-of-living via a $60 toll cap, which will start on January 1.
  • An extra $100 million to support families with their energy bills from July 1, 2024, including eligible concession card holders, low-income households, pensioners, self-funded retirees, veterans, families, and people with certain medical conditions.
  • Almost $53 million over four years to more than double the number of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and permanently employ more medical and forensic specialists to boost frontline trauma services for victims of sexual assault across NSW.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.