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Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

Ballina Council to look into making tiny homes accessible 

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Are tiny homes the solution to our housing crisis? Photo Alsan Shand

The idea of living in a tiny home can seem like a simple solution to our housing crisis – but then you come up against getting council approvals for a permanent tiny home on private land.

A proposal to look into the potential of tiny homes on private land and how to make the process more viable was part of the Ballina Shire Council (BSC) Future Housing Strategy that was adopted at last week’s BSC meeting. Action 17 is to look at how to ‘encourage tiny homes in appropriate areas’. 

The action came out of the 2023 public seminar held in Lennox Head organised by Greens councillor Kiri Dicker where enabling permanent living in tiny homes was discussed.

Kiri Dicker
Cr Kiri Dicker, Ballina Greens.

‘It’s great to see this idea formally adopted into Council’s Housing Strategy,’ Cr Dicker told The Echo

Tiny homes, when located on land other than land in caravan park or camping ground, are considered as ‘moveable dwellings’ under NSW state planning legislation. Other types of moveable dwellings include tents, caravans, vans and manufactured homes. Tiny homes commonly fall into two categories: Tiny Houses on Wheels (i.e. a custom-made trailer base), or Tiny Homes on Skids (a fixed, relocatable pallet-like structure). 

While some exemptions from development approval currently apply to Tiny Homes, they are limited to short-term stays or long-term occupancy by household members of tiny house dwellings connected to the primary residence. Other exemptions apply to seasonal work use and for individuals displaced because of a natural disaster. 

Currently complicated and costly

Currently, to live permanently in a Tiny Home in NSW, a person must seek development approval from their local Council, which can be complicated and costly. Several councils are initiating pilot programs that enable people to permanently reside in Tiny Homes on private land without planning approval, subject to certain conditions. 

‘We can’t afford to wait years for the supply of new housing to eventuate,’ said Cr Dicker. 

‘Making it easier to live in tiny homes in appropriate circumstances is one way we can unlock instant supply of affordable housing for people on low and very low incomes.

‘Under its new Housing Strategy, Ballina Council will seek to learn from the outcomes of these pilot programs and review its own planning controls relating to Tiny Homes, with a view to enable permanent living in appropriate circumstances. They will also produce education materials to support those interest in tiny home living to navigate existing  planning pathways.’


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  1. article : the greens are making tiny houses easier, vote greens

    reality: nothing has actually changed at all in any way

  2. A Tiny Home can be made to adhere to the Building Code if required for permanent living.
    Tiny Home manufacturers continue to build models with lofts, no energy ratings and sip panels making it impossible for them to be evaluated as ancillary or class 1a dwellings.


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