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Byron Shire
September 25, 2021

Increase in council development powers on the agenda as housing crisis deepens

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Should Byron Council be given greater powers to facilitate development in the Shire to address the worsening housing affordability crisis?

This is one option our councillors will consider at this week’s meeting as they explore the housing challenges facing our key workers.

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A Council staff report paints a grim housing picture for a broad cross-section of local workers ranging from nurses and teachers to food and accommodation industry employees.

The cumulative impact of lower-than-average incomes and the dramatic increase in rents and house prices is leaving our key workers with an unprecedented level of housing stress.

The proportion of local workers who still live in the Shire has plunged, and there are anecdotal reports that others have been forced to live in their cars or with colleagues just so they can live near work.

‘There is an urgent need for a policy circuit breaker to enable the supply of low to high-end rental and ownership accommodation opportunities outside the current inflated free market…’ the report states.

‘Although Council is poised to deliver shovel ready solutions, it is unable to do so easily due to the state planning framework and the constraints in which local government operates…’

In response to this challenge, the report suggests that Council advocate for policy changes so that councils can ‘directly facilitate development through planning, providing land, and offering subsidies to developers’.

This would ‘provide the private sector with the certainty that it needs to invest confidently in the region’.

However, such changes are unlikely to be supported by those locals who feel the current Council is too pro-development and who do not wish there to be any more housing built in their town.

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  1. Because the federal government won’t do anything to reduce the crazyness of our housing market by doing things like abolishing negative gearing or the 50% capital gains discount we have to increase development? This is a ridiculous situation. These are legacies of the Howard government that do nothing but favour people who arleady own a house. These local council proposals are like using your fingers to plug a in dam.

  2. We need to reduce our population to free up housing. China did it with the one-child solution. When we do not reproduce to cover the parents when they die, the population reduces. Then there will be enough houses for all.
    Hang on, hang on, that is not the Liberal Party way, when GROWTH is our problem. Remember the political call of Jobson Growthe at the 2016 Federal election. What has changed five years on.
    No jobs, burgeoning growth, and no more wealth to any of us.

  3. This article points to one of the many reasons why affordable housing is an extremely difficult challenge. Most Byron residents want more affordable housing. Most Byron residents want no new development. BornxRaised points to another fact that removing generous investment tax benefits is political suicide. These benefits are also the enemy of build-to-rent proponents, who are part of the solution. Federal and State governments need to subsidise build-to-rent, particularly for not-for-profits. The price of land in Byron is an immediate impediment to this activity being commercially viable at the moment.

  4. What a joke crack down on the big money coming into town and buying all the houses to Airbnb or holiday let.That locals use to live in. The rich get the benefits and the workers that make their coffee and breaky lunch and dinners and teach their kids. Have to travel miles to come to work to serve this crew.
    Fix the hospital up and get a nice place for homeless or just anyone that needs a bed for the night that’s a safe place for them to rely on. We could show other shires how to do it right with compassion for our community. At present it’s all about the new virus. GREED.

  5. And yet millions of acres of East Coast land / rural properties are limited by NSW law to having just one approved residential house on land that can be up to 200 acres in size. Next to impossible to get legal approval for practical secondary housing and residential applications even for a few cabins across vast amounts of grass and rural land. This is due to archaic 100 year agricultural lobbying pressure to preserve grass for livestock for animal farming for profits – even when that is no longer viable on expensive coastal land. Preserving grass instead of allowing a few practical residential housing options on huge large rural properties. Change that law and allow some landowners who want it (most wont) the option to provide a cabin or 3 for adorable housing. Its a NSW Govt policy and restriction and needs to be changed.


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