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Affordable housing on the agenda
By Red Dwyer
CUMBERLAND Council has moved on the controversial issue of “housing stress” in the local government area.
As a first step to address the issue five per cent of any proposal to rezone land must be set aside for affordable accommodation in the major centres in the local government area.
Council has decided, also, that five per cent of the residential development happening along the Parramatta Road Corridor, as part of the Urban Transformation Strategy, would be set aside for the same purpose. 
This comes at a time when Anglican Australia’s 8th Rental Affordability Snapshot discovered fewer than one per cent of rental homes in Sydney’s southwest were appropriate and affordable for households receiving government payments
Another study by the NSW Centre for Affordable Housing identified the local government area had a high need for affordable rental housing.
Through its residential strategies and plans Cumberland had provided for new housing well in excess of its dwelling targets, however, supply alone does not address housing affordability and access to housing, according to council administrator, Viv May.
“Over the past 10 years median household income in Cumberland has increased only 11 per cent, while median rental costs have increased by 77 per cent,” he said. “Cumberland is under housing stress.”
Mr May said an area was considered under housing stress when more than 30 per cent of gross household income was required to be spent on rent, whereas the current estimate was 36 per cent
“This number is far too high and these provisions are only the start in making sure that Cumberland is not only a place people want to live, but can comfortably,” he said.
“To address the housing stress issue, affordable rental housing is necessary to provide for low and moderate household incomes in addition to state public housing.” 
Council resolved to investigate and pursue an affordable housing contribution through inclusionary zoning in Cumberland’s larger centres of Merrylands, Auburn, Lidcombe and Wentworthville. 
In addition, council would investigate inclusionary zoning measures, a model which would in effect require a higher proportion of affordable housing is incorporated into all development projects, he said.
Parramatta City Council has prepared an Affordable Housing Discussion Paper which is on public exhibition until June 15 for submissions.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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