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Cumberland Council administrator Viv May has taken the first steps by endorsing several new policies.
As a result, five per cent of any proposal to rezone land must be set aside for affordable housing. Five per cent of residential development along Parramatta Road as part of the Urban Transformation Strategy will also be set aside. The council will also investigate inclusionary zoning measures for a higher proportion of affordable housing in Merrylands and Wentworthville. Cumberland has been identified as an area with a high need for affordable rental housing.
“Through its residential strategies and plans Cumberland has provided for new housing well in excess of its dwelling targets. However, supply alone does not address housing affordability and access to housing,” Mr May said at a recent meeting.
“We also want to make sure development that is happening across the area contributes to affordable housing by following the lead of other Sydney Councils and pursuing inclusionary zoning measures.”
In the past 10 years, median household income in Cumberland has increased 11 per cent, while rental costs have increased by 77 per cent. “We need to start dealing with this issue immediately so from now on any planning proposal that comes to council will require a voluntary planning agreement that commits at least five per cent of the new zone to housing that is affordable for low and moderate household incomes,” Mr May said.
2016 household income data to be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics later this year will confirm that median rents comprise more than one-third of median income in Cumberland. An area is considered under housing stress when more than 30 per cent of gross household income is required to be spent on rent.
“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,” Mr May said.