Inside the revolt over NSW’s signature housing reforms


“The housing targets are from the playbook of Utopia,” he said. “The government is setting itself up for failure.”

A housing industry analysis of the government’s plan found that in the face of rapidly rising construction costs, apartments cannot be built for a price buyers are willing to pay in many of the identified locations.

Opposition housing spokesperson Scott Farlow said the Liberals were not opposed to density around train stations but wanted to give councils the power to decide how best to do it.

Opposition housing spokesperson Scott Farlow said the Liberals were not opposed to density around train stations but wanted to give councils the power to decide how best to do it.Credit: Dominic Lorrimer

Independent MP Michael Regan, whose electorate of Wakehurst takes in the northern beaches, said he would not support the bill to block the housing policy but he wanted to increase the proportion of affordable housing in the apartments built around train stations.

“As long as the state consults properly with councils, and helps fund necessary infrastructure – zero issues from me. Housing affordability has many complex challenges and this is but one of the levers that can help address it. But there is far more to do than just build more units around train stations,” he said.

“[It] needs to be at least 15 per cent affordable social housing in perpetuity with TODs, not 2 per cent so, so our teachers, nurses, drivers, cleaners, cooks, police … can live and work in their communities.”

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Farlow said the Liberals supported ambitious housing supply and density around train stations but the TODs policy as it stood was not the way to effectively deliver housing.

“It is not like this is some silver bullet to the housing crisis, that’s why it is better to say to councils, ‘this is your target, it’s up to you how to meet it’,” he said.

NSW Planning Minister Paul Scully last week criticised the opposition, saying it had refused to address the housing crisis over the past decade and the move was effectively trying to confine another generation of young people and families to not being able to afford to rent or buy a home.

In addition to the planning changes for train stations, low- and mid-rise housing reforms announced by the government last year are expected to result in 112,000 new homes built across the Greater Sydney region, Hunter, Central Coast and Illawarra. They would consist of residential flat buildings of between three and six storeys, terraces, townhouses, duplexes and smaller one- and two-storey apartment blocks in suburbs where they are not currently allowed.

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