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Property Council of Australia asks NSW to balance sustainable housing design with affordability

The Property Council of Australia has cautiously welcomed changes to the recent Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP) Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) report, but notes sustainability must be balanced with affordability.

The newly released Design and Place SEPP aims to establish principles for the design of properties in urban and regional New South Wales (NSW).

It also has a focus on repealing and replacing two key pieces of legislation around the design and sustainability of housing development in the state.

Property Council of Australia NSW Acting Director, Lauren Conceicao said although she supported the aims of the report, there were concerns over its changes and their impact.

“We strongly support the objectives of the Design and Place SEPP to ensure sustainable, well-designed buildings, cities, towns and streets,” Ms Conceicao said. 

“Balancing productivity and feasibility in requirements for design and sustainability considerations, particularly in relation to the Apartment Design Guide and housing affordability is critical for the success of the policy.”

Ms Conceicao explained it was important to adequately balance sustainability and affordability.

“We will continue to work with government to address issues to ensure strong investment to increase much needed housing supply,” she said. 

“I welcome the investment by the Minister and the Government Architect in this process and their commitment to ensuring flexible application of the revised Apartment Design Guide will allow for innovative and sustainable apartment design.

“However, this must be tempered against the potential for this to add costs to development, escalating the housing affordability crisis which is impacting upon the quality of life of many Australians.

“It is pleasing that the Minister acknowledges the implementation of this important work has the potential to significantly impact on housing affordability and feasibility of residential development of projects and invested in getting this right.” 

The Property Council also noted the NSW Government is undertaking economic modelling on the proposed SEPP to determine the commercial feasibility of the proposals. They are supportive of this approach.

“We are pleased to see the NSW Government is considering incentivising opportunities for better design through accelerated approval processes,” Ms Conceicao said.

“We commend the premise of this work and will continue to work closely with the government on the detail that will allow the vision come to life.”

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