Tackling the high costs of Sydney housing

The City of Sydney will today seek answers to the city’s growing housing affordability challenges with the help of industry experts, community representatives and the general public in twin events.

An industry summit, Fixing Sydney’s Housing Crisis, at Town Hall House will be followed this evening by a CityTalks Sydney public event that will cover the same topic at Town Hall.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said development of affordable housing within the city’s area for essential workers and emergency, retail and hospitality professionals had become a pressing issue.

“Median rental prices have grown by almost 60% since 2006 while household incomes have only grown by an estimated 48% in our area,” the Lord Mayor said.

“84% of lower income households in the City of Sydney are in housing stress – spending more than 30% of their gross income on housing.

“We need to generate a solution to solve this growing social problem.”

The invitation-only industry summit will see a cross-section of leading experts from the housing sector help shape the City’s housing policy.

Grattan Institute CEO John Daley and University of Sydney urban planner Professor Nicole Gurran will headline the summit.

Together with government representatives, the finance sector, developers and affordable housing providers, they will discuss ways to deliver safe, quality homes for the diverse population of the inner city.

Members of the public will then attend the CityTalks Sydney event at Lower Town Hall to hear from a panel of experts as they discuss the housing crisis.

The ABC’s Steve Cannane will lead tonight’s panel made up of Mirvac developers, Link Housing, Westpac, ACOSS, Youth Action and a government housing consultant. They will discuss the planning and policy needed to produce more affordable-housing and how collaboration across the housing market will help.

Affordable housing is the responsibility of state and federal governments. But the City of Sydney supports the supply by selling land at discounted prices, contributing to remediation costs, creating rooms that can be rented as affordable housing and through its own planning policies.

In negotiations with the City, developers set aside space for affordable housing and they also pay affordable housing levies.

The Ultimo-Pyrmont Affordable Housing Levy was introduced in the mid-1990s and the Green Square Affordable Housing Levy was introduced in the late-1990s.

Since then, 665 affordable housing units have been built in Ultimo-Pyrmont and 104 units are set to be built in Green Square.

The City of Sydney’s CityTalks series partner is The Guardian Australia.

Source: News Release, City of Sydney, 12 March, 2015


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