21.2 C
Byron Shire
September 17, 2021

State government ‘dragging the chain’ on affordable housing

Latest News

Reece Byrnes re-elected as Tweed Deputy Mayor

With many many local councils are juggling the elections timetable owing to COVID-19 restrictions, and last night the Tweed Shire elected their Deputy Mayor.

Other News


Mask mandates are flawed orders that violate the human right to informed consent. Businesses that demand their customers wear...

Update: Lismore going into lockdown at 6pm

Lismore local government area (LGA) is going into lockdown for seven days from 6pm tonight following a positive case of COVID-19 in Goonellabah yesterday.

COVID choices

The virus isn’t going anywhere – it’s here to stay. There are three real solutions. 1. Let the virus run...

Berry bright future

At 25, Sarah Montgomery has her feet planted firmly on the ground and her hands deep in the soil....


I wholeheartedly agree with Brian Mollett (Letters 18 August). Until very recently Burringbar Street was a true representation of...

Worried about COVID vaccine adverse effects? Here’s what’s happening each week

A breakdown of the weekly vaccine-side effects report from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Greens state MP and former Byron mayor Jan Barham.
Greens state MP and former Byron mayor Jan Barham.

Chris Dobney

North coast Greens MLC and former Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham says the future of affordable housing in the region is in the hands of the state government.

Ms Barham said the government must now legislate to allow councils the right to require affordable housing lots as a condition of approval.

Her comments came in the wake of the 2016 Anglicare Housing Affordability Snapshot, which found that there was no affordable rental housing in Byron Bay, Ballina or Tweed Heads.

‘There’s an instrument that’s used in Sydney that allows only a few councils to [require developers include affordable or social housing] but it’s not in the current planning rules across the state,’ she told Echonetdaily.

Commenting on recent sales of ‘affordable’ home sites in Ballina and Lismore and blocks donated to social housing organisations in Lismore and Tweed, Ms Barham said, ‘You can do it by negotiation, you can do it if the developer chooses to put that forward but as a requirement it’s not in place.’

Beef up planning rules

‘This is where the state government needs to beef up the planning rules so that councils can require this of new developments.’

‘Most of those will have a time limitation with the properties being with a community housing provider,’ she said. So there’s an allowance for increased densities, with a provision for community housing, but that lapses most often in a 10 year period.’

Two year delay

Ms Barham said her proposal had been languishing with government since her committee on affordable and social housing reported some two years ago, despite making an appearance in the draft North Coast Regional Plan.

‘This was all presented in the housing inquiry we did two years ago. We looked statewide at what opportunities were available and “inclusionary zoning” was very much a focus. Councils the state and communities wanted to see government take the lead.

‘In the draft North Coast Regional Plan it talks about councils having new planning rules but it doesn’t yet create the opportunity for them.’

She accused the state government of dragging the chain on the issue.

‘It’s been this way for over a decade, where communities and local governments that have done affordable housing plans have sought the state government support for these zoning opportunities but they’ve not eventuated yet.

Holiday lets

‘That, coupled with the use of existing residential dwellings being used for tourism [holiday letting], which has diminished supply… is creating problems on the coastal strip.

‘That’s where you need the instrument of government to be able to require that these affordable and social housing developments exist, so you’re not ending up in legal action because council requires it of developers.

‘We need to have firm rules that give clear direction to community, councils and the development industry,’ Ms Barham said.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

COVID update includes trial of home quarantine

When media were told that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian would be at today's 11am update, we expected big news – the Premier said last week she would only attend the updates if it were important news.

How is RT-PCR used to diagnose COVID-19?

It’s fast, reliable and full of lines – but might look different to the PCR you learned about in school.

Queensland passes voluntary assisted dying laws

Dying with Dignity NSW has welcomed the passage of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) laws in Queensland and is hoping that NSW Parliament resumes next month so that this issue can be addressed in NSW without further delay.

Planning staff back Wilsons Creek DA, residents’ concerns downplayed

Residents living near a proposed 15-lot housing development in Wilsons Creek say it will negatively impact a precious wildlife corridor on the site, exacerbate traffic safety problems on the surrounding roads, and damage the peaceful character of their quiet enclave.