Waverley Council wins campaign for affordable housing for NSW families

12 February 2021 | Media Release

12 February 2021

Waverley Council has contributed to a five-year campaign giving councils in metropolitan NSW the power to levy developers to pay for losses in affordable housing.

It paves the way for councils in Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong to increase the number of affordable rental units for thousands of families on very low to moderate incomes.

Previously, in order for councils in Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong to levy a developer to pay a monetary contribution to be used for affordable rental housing if the developer proposed to remove affordable rental housing within a new development and not replace it, councils had to prove the property was considered affordable housing on 28 January 2000.

Waverley Council successfully lobbied for the date to be scrapped from Part 3 of the state’s Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (ARHSEPP), and from 1 February, councils only need to prove whether a property was considered affordable housing in the five years preceding lodgement of a development application.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, described the campaign by the participating councils as a major win for families struggling to make ends meet.

“Trying to prove that a rental unit was deemed affordable housing 20 years ago when there’s little or no available rental data meant councils including Waverley were losing affordable housing supply with no means of creating more,” Mayor Masselos said.

“In the last few years alone, our council has lost more than $3million in potential monetary contribution payments to offset the loss of affordable housing in Waverley at a time when housing affordability generally has emerged as a critical issue of state significance.

“If our Council lost that amount, imagine the total loses across Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong? It’s frightening.”

Waverley Council’s Strategic Town Planning team began advocating to change the ARHSEPP in 2017 and rallied the Planning Institute of Australia for their help in bringing the issue to the attention of the Department of Planning Industry and Environment.

In 2019, Council’s strategic town planners met with the Institute’s National Policy Manager and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s housing team to explain how Part 3 of the ARHSEPP was failing councils and the community, and continued to advocate for its review.

“I am very proud of Waverley Council’s Strategic Town Planning team for making it their mission to bring about this significant policy change and make a real difference to the lives of thousands of families in NSW.

“I also applaud the Department for taking this step.”


Media inquiries: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au or 0416 075 532