The Greater Sydney housing market is recognised as one of the least affordable in the world. A 2018 Family and Community Services Report found that within the Lane Cove district, affordable rental stock was only 0.6% for those on very low incomes, 3.9% for those on low incomes, and 61.2% for those on middle incomes. While we have seen a boom in new housing developments in Lane Cove, particularly along Mowbray and Epping Roads, very few of these have included sufficient guarantees for affordable rental housing. This has placed many people on lower incomes under considerable housing stress – unable to find any affordable local options.
The Greens believe that affordable housing is a human right. Every individual should be able to have a place to call home that doesn’t break the bank. Lane Cove Council has a role to play in ensuring that we have an adequate supply of affordable housing stock in the local community. The Council can work to acquire properties that will be made available for rent at an affordable price to those in the community who are on very low, low and middle incomes. Council owned rental properties would need to meet the benchmark of being under 30% of a households gross income.
In addition to acquiring properties, council can use planning provisions including State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) 70. This functions as a type of mandatory inclusionary zoning. It enables a council to levy a development contribution for affordable rental housing as a condition of consent for new projects. This would mean that the community would obtain a greater benefit from new developments such as those recently approved along Mowbray road.
Lane Cove families with adult children looking to move out of the family home are facing the reality that their children will be unable to afford to live in the same suburb and may need to move far away from their family support network in order to find an affordable home. It is within the power of Lane Cove Council to ensure this doesn’t happen, by guaranteeing sufficient affordable rental stock for all.