Media release: 7 December 2017
Lower-income renters must be protected from
Light Rail Corridor price hikes, says Sydney Alliance
If the NSW government intends the new Light Rail Corridor to drive up nearby housing prices, it must protect lower-income renters by ensuring strong targets for affordable rentals in these areas, says the Sydney Alliance.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald “Domain” on December 6 reported that government documents had shown “driving up property prices in suburbs along the new Light Rail corridor is now a key measure of success for the state government”.
The Sydney Alliance is a coalition of more than 40 not-for-profit community, faith, union and educational organisations. The Alliance has been advocating strongly for NSW and local governments to adopt meaningful “inclusionary zoning” targets for affordable rentals in new developments; also campaigning with other partners to improve renter security.
Says Magnus Linder, Chair of the Alliance’s Housing Committee:
“Hearing that driving up house prices near light rail is a key objective of the NSW Government Illustrates the urgent need for the government to introduce strong minimum targets for affordable units across these new developments, to keep our communities affordable for renters.
“With tax levers apparently off the table, it’s only by boosting the supply of affordable rental housing that the government can counteract negative impacts on low and moderate income earning renters being driven away from family, friends and workplaces by the surge in redevelopment.”
The Sydney Alliance is calling for this policy in its submission to the draft Greater Sydney Region Plan, which is open for submissions till 15 December. The Alliance proposes at least 15% of developments on private land and at least 30% on government land, be set aside for rental affordable by people on low-to-moderate incomes. Similar strategies have been adopted successfully in cities worldwide, with no significant adverse impact on house prices or supply.
“If prices rise around the Light Rail Corridor”, says Magnus Linder, “homeowners may well benefit, but renters will be priced out of their own communities by their own government’s actions where the sole measure of success is how much the government investment drives up property prices.
“Renters, like all people, need a place to live close enough to their work. The lack of well-located affordable rental housing is the biggest problem facing many Sydneysiders, even bigger than our congested roads. Affordable rental is also a growing issue to many home-owners, whose children or employees or key local workers are renters.
“Since the Government reaps the spoils of rising stamp duty, it needs to carry a higher target of 30% on government-owned land - especially if its strategy is to enlarge its cut from redeveloping the Bays Precinct and other Government-owned renewal areas by improving transport infrastructure.”