NSW Affordable Housing Strategy “Falls Short”, Says Australian Institute of Architects

The New South Wales (NSW) Affordable Housing Strategy proposed by the Minns Government aims to address the pressing issue of housing affordability in the state.

While the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects appreciates the government’s efforts to deliver more housing, it believes that the strategy does not go far enough.


In a recent statement, the Institute outlined its concerns and proposed essential changes to ensure the long-term viability and success of the legislation.

The Australian Institute of Architects fully supports the proposed 30% uplift for residential apartment projects that include 15% affordable housing provisions. Architects play a pivotal role in working with communities, local governments, and clients to achieve well-designed and sustainable outcomes. They recognize the potential of the legislation to liberate the capacity of our cities and provide much-needed affordable housing.

However, the Institute does not support the provision that limits the identified affordable housing tenure to a mere 15 years. It argues that such a limited timeframe fails to acknowledge the long-term housing needs of essential workers and communities. Instead, the Institute calls for affordable housing provisions to be in perpetuity to ensure their lasting impact on housing accessibility.

The Australian Institute of Architects emphasizes the importance of affordable housing being managed by registered not-for-profit affordable housing providers. This requirement ensures responsible management, accountability, and transparency. By entrusting affordable housing to organizations with expertise in housing and tenant requirements, the system’s integrity is protected, minimizing the potential for corruption.

To combat land banking and promote timely delivery of affordable housing, the Institute recommends imposing time limits on the 30% uplift projects. It proposes a timeline of 5 years from the issuance of the principal approval to the Occupation Certificate, excluding subsequent variations. This provision encourages developers to promptly complete projects, preventing delays that hinder the delivery of affordable housing.

The Institute asserts that the proposed changes it advocates for are essential to safeguard the long-term viability of housing in NSW. Without the suggested amendments, the legislation risks creating a short-term solution that only benefits developers. The inclusion of perpetual affordable housing provisions, management by registered non-profit organizations, and time limits on Development Approvals would enhance the impact of the legislation and address the pressing housing crisis more effectively.

The Australian Institute of Architects has expressed its support for the Minns Government’s focus on delivering more housing through the NSW Affordable Housing Strategy. However, it has identified critical shortcomings in the legislation, particularly the limitation of affordable housing tenure to 15 years. By calling for perpetual affordable housing provisions, management by registered not-for-profit organizations, and time limits on Development Approvals, the Institute aims to ensure the long-term viability of the strategy and rebuild the development industry’s social license with the community. These sensible suggestions would enhance the legislation’s effectiveness, bringing about meaningful and sustainable change to housing affordability in NSW.

Via The Australian Institute of Architects

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