Collaboration key to tackling housing crisis

Belinda Wallis •
September 22, 2023

Government leaders, developers, community housing providers and industry experts have been urged to work hand in hand to address Sydney’s housing crisis at the inaugural Up … and Out? Greater Western Sydney Housing Summit.

More than 350 delegates gathered to hear from Minister for Planning, Paul Scully, Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Rose Jackson, and the new NSW Rental Commissioner, Trina Jones to explore ways to deliver more homes and livable communities.

Off the back of this week’s NSW State Budget, the forum explored the government’s housing reform agenda, looking at ways to address housing stress and supply shortfalls.

Dialogue CEO, Adam Leto, said the forum provided an opportunity for industry, community leaders and key stakeholders to have a voice in what is one of the most important conversations in the nation today.

“It was clear that housing shortfall and affordability, housing stress and rising rents are issues that demand our urgent attention. But if we’re going to find solutions to this complex issue, transparency and collaboration are key,” Mr Leto said.

“The message from today was that we need certainty when it comes to policy and decision making, and clearer streamlined processes for industry and key partners to do business with government.

“We’re encouraged by the government’s understanding of the need for urgency and in particular the emphasis on not just building homes, but building communities that are liveable and linked to services and vital infrastructure.”

Speaking at the event in Warwick Farm, NSW Planning Minister Paul Scully said the government wants to be more proactive with the building of infrastructure so Western Sydney residents aren’t isolated from jobs and critical services.

“We are trying to get people to live near their parents, not with their parents,” Minister Scully said.

“The Government has made no secret of its desire to see more infill development rather than simply expanding Sydney ever westward.

“For too long the system has been reactive and didn’t respond quickly enough to the issues around the delivery of housing, jobs and infrastructure across the state.

“Sydney is one of the 10 fastest growing cities in the developed world. It is 48th amongst developed economies in terms of the size of its urban footprint, but it ranks 859th in the world for density – which places it amongst the least densely populated cities in the world.

“The message is – we are not using our land well and it is costing us.”

Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Rose Jackson told the conference that the government was focused on delivering more homes.

“We’re not trying to save money, or try and make anyone else money, we are trying to deliver homes,” Ms Jackson said.

“It’s about delivering quality homes and quality communities, great places for families to live in and great suburbs where we have access to amenity.”

NSW President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), Jacqueline Vozzo, agreed that a coordinated approach was needed to deliver housing where it was needed.

“The public and private sector needs to come together in a true partnership to address this housing problem, and we need to do it now,” Ms Vozzo said.

“We are seeing a real passion in government to address the housing crisis. We now need to provide the cut-through that is needed to boost supply.”