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Randwick Council will become just the fourth local government in Sydney able to levy developers for affordable housing contributions across the council area.
In one of his final acts in the portfolio, former planning minister Rob Stokes agreed to the council's request to be included in what is known as SEPP 70 – the planning instrument that allows councils to charge developers for affordable housing contributions.
The council plans to use its conclusion to create about 200 affordable units along the light rail line between Kensington and Kingsford.
"This is the first time any action has been taken to address the affordable housing crisis in Sydney's eastern suburbs," said Labor's Member for Heffron, Ron Hoenig, who has pushed for Randwick's inclusion in the state affordable housing policy.
But Randwick's inclusion in the scheme also underlines how few local governments are captured by the scheme.
SEPP 70 has been used recently only in the City of Sydney to create new affordable dwellings funded by the major housing projects in Ultimo-Pyrmont and Green Square.
"By including Randwick specifically in the affordable housing SEPP, this will give us a legal framework to require new development to have more affordable housing rather than relying on the goodwill of the developer," Randwick mayor Noel D'Souza said.
"Currently councils have limited authority to require new development to include affordable housing and it is typically done through a voluntary agreement with the developer," Cr D'Souza said.
As well as the City of Sydney, it has also been available for use in Willoughby Council and in the former Leichhardt Council, which has since been subsumed into the Inner West Council.
The affordable properties created under the City of Sydney's scheme are leased by an affordable housing provider – City West Housing – at below average incomes.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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