$30 million to boost Northern Rivers housing supply

Janelle Saffin MP has secured a NSW Labor election commitment to invest $30 million in a Build-to-Rent pilot program for the Northern Rivers. Lismore, Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Ballina will be among the first centres to benefit.

A Minns Labor Government will deliver more long-term affordable rental housing for regional New South Wales by investing a further $30 million for a Build-to-Rent program in the Northern Rivers region. 

Under Labor’s plan, Landcom will be tasked with delivering the extra rental stock over two years.

Build-to-Rent programs usually involve the construction of multi-unit developments under a single owner where the property is held long term for rental purposes. The purpose of this scheme is to add to the supply of longer-term rentals in the housing market.

Under the Nationals and Liberals, New South Wales has a rental affordability crisis, especially in regional areas of the state where there are simply fewer options. A lack of housing options means many regional communities are struggling to attract and retain key workers.

Landcom will identify existing surplus government land and work with local government on potential sites. 

Any properties built on surplus government land will be subject to Labor’s mandatory requirement of 30 per cent of dwellings to be used for social, affordable and universal housing.

Rental properties will be managed by an appropriate government agency – like Teacher Housing or recently announced Homes NSW – or a community partner with any profits to be reinvested into social housing.

This announcement comes off the back of revelations this week that the NSW Government reforms to streamline the planning process for housing has only managed to approve one build-to-rent project in two years. 

Lack of supply is one of the biggest drivers of the housing crisis, Labor’s pilot will increase the number of long-term rentals available on the Northern Rivers and South Coast. 

Quotes attributable to Paul Scully MP, Shadow Minister for Planning and Public Spaces:

“Landcom is well-placed to lead this build-to-rent pilot that will help to increase the supply of rental properties on the North Coast where people are suffering from the dual impact of rising rents and low or no housing availability.”

 “The lack of available rental properties is not only impacting individuals and families struggling to find a home, but it is also impacting the ability of businesses to attract and retain staff.”

Quotes attributable to Rose Jackson MLC, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness:

“NSW Labor accepts there is an affordable rental crisis in NSW.  The Northern Rivers and North Coast were already struggling with increased rents and historically low vacancy rates prior to the flooding, and the situation has now become extremely serious.”

“Labor is serious about building more affordable housing — in particular affordable rentals. We know that working people across our regions are desperately struggling to find a place to live, and it’s impacting on local economic growth and recovery.”

“Labor will put $30m on the table to directly intervene in regional housing market on the Northern Rivers and North Coast to deliver more affordable places to rent.”

Quotes attributable to Janelle Saffin MP, State Member for Lismore:

“When NSW Labor in February announced a Build-to-Rent pilot project for the South Coast, I put in a strong bid to Shadow Ministers Paul Scully and Rose Jackson to replicate one here on the Northern Rivers.”

“I’d already brought Landcom to our region in late 2021 to work more closely with local councils to start addressing our housing crisis, worsened by last year’s floods.”

“I see Build-to-Rent rolling out to Lismore and Murwillumbah in our Electorate of Lismore, and to neighbouring Tweed Heads and Ballina, as a natural extension of Landcom broadening its focus beyond Sydney to regional areas.”

“Local people must have the security of a roof over their heads for themselves and their children, and a practical scheme like this is one way towards achieving this goal.”

Quotes attributable to Craig Elliot, Labor candidate for Tweed:

“Everyone knows that housing affordability is a critical issue here in Tweed.”

“After 12 years in government, the Nationals have not delivered for local families and essential workers, and our local services are going backwards.”

“At this election, only Labor has a plan to provide more affordable rentals for local families and essential workers.”

Labor’s Fresh Start Plan will make housing more affordable and accessible for the people of New South Wales:

  • Removing or reduce stamp duty for 95 per cent of first home buyers;
  • Abolishing the NSW Government’s forever land tax on the family home;
  • Creating a Rental Commissioner;
  • Protecting tenants from unfair evictions by requiring them to be given a lawful reason for terminating their lease;
  • Banning the practice of secret rent-bidding, which pits tenants against each other in bidding war;
  • Implementing a Portable Bond Scheme to allow tenants to apply their current bond to their next lease;
  • Making it easier for renters to apply to have pets in their homes;
  • Hosting a renter’s roundtable to hear from stakeholders and community groups;
  • Introducing a mandatory requirement for 30 per cent of all homes built on surplus government land to be set aside for social, affordable and universal housing;
  • Providing longer term funding certainty for homelessness and housing support organisations and tenancy advocacy services dealing with the fall-out from the housing crisis, and
  • $30 million Build-to-Rent projects on the Northern Rivers and South Coast to boost regional rental supply 

TAKING ACTION: NSW Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson MLC and Lismore MP Janelle Saffin jointly announce the Build-to-Rent pilot program outside the Lismore Transit Centre.