Statement by Hills Shire Mayor Dr Peter Gangemi on New Housing Targets

Published on 29 May 2024

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The Minns Government has today more than doubled our housing completion target for The Hills Shire over the next five years.

We now have the highest housing targets in NSW, all while growth communities like those in Box Hill are buckling under the pressure that comes with a lack of funding for parks, schools and roads.

We already have the most overcrowded schools in the state, with 46 per cent over their enrolment cap by more than 100+ students.

The Hills Shire Council is already a strong contributor to housing in Sydney. In the last five-year period, 10,600 homes were built in our shire, easily exceeding our housing targets over that timeframe. We are one of the fastest growing areas of the Country. In 2022-2023, our Council assessed more Development Applications than any other Metropolitan Council.

We are a Council that is assisting greatly with the housing crisis and are not opposed to doing more. However we are opposed to these targets, which are unfeasible for Councils and the Construction Industry across Sydney.

The Government seems to be focused on rezonings, approvals and lifting targets, rather than a practical plan to physically build more houses on the ground. There is plenty of land already zoned for housing across Sydney and there is plenty of DAs waiting to be enacted. In The Hills, we already have enough land zoned for an additional 50,400 homes. From 2016 to 2023, we approved 22,670 homes, however only 15,560 were completed.

You cannot rezone or approve your way out of the housing crisis. Lifting targets or blaming Councils doing their job won’t do it either.   

The Government needs to significantly invest in sewer, water, power, roads and other key infrastructure projects that will unlock the housing that is already zoned and approved. The Government needs to invest in supporting the construction industry and encouraging more people to train and work within the sector. The Federal Government cannot bring more people into the country than we can build homes for. Legislation changes are needed to restore confidence to buying off the plan in the apartment sector. The Government are sitting on numerous Landcom sites that are DA approved, they could lead from the front and build on them immediately.

The 23,300 new dwellings The Hills is being asked to complete over the next five years is a larger number than Councils much bigger, and even double our size. These figures would increase the population of our Council by a third in just five years.

The Minns Government has offered $200 million in infrastructure grants for councils across the entire state should they meet their housing completion targets. The infrastructure shortfall for Box Hill alone is $122 million. There is already a lag in the provision of Government infrastructure to meet the needs of the existing population that is already here.

It’s difficult to comprehend how the Government expects us to achieve this new target. This is a target without a plan.

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