The NSW Government is leveraging vacant buildings and land to deliver immediate accommodation for people experiencing homelessness as part of the NSW Government’s first ever housing strategy for the state, outlining a 20-year vision for better housing across NSW.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the Housing 2041 strategy and an initial two-year action plan will deliver improved outcomes immediately and into the future by focusing on housing supply, diversity, affordability and resilience.

As part of the strategy, the NSW Government is piloting the Temporary Supportive Accommodation (TSA) which seeks to use vacant land and buildings to establish transitional housing for people at risk of homelessness for up to two years while longer term housing solutions are sorted.

“One of the critical aspects of Housing 2041 is the exploration of how we can better meet the needs of our communities,” Mrs Pavey said.

“For this TSA pilot project, we’ve reached an agreement with Wollongong Council to investigate the use of vacant buildings and land in the Wollongong area to deliver a safe home for those who desperately need it.

“As part of Housing 2041, we are developing a TSA Discussion Paper that will call on other local governments, NGOs and the private sector to come to us with ideas to deliver additional TSA projects and to meet the Premier’s Priority of reducing homelessness by 50 per cent.”

Minister Pavey said this Strategy will allow us to better plan and deliver housing that meets the needs of people in both metropolitan and regional areas now and over the next 20 years.

The circumstances facing NSW today have influenced the development of the Strategy. 

“COVID-19 has highlighted significant challenges for the housing market, including supply and affordability in some regional areas of NSW,” Mrs Pavey said.

The Strategy and inaugural two-year action plan also features initiatives to support better housing outcomes including:

  • establishing a cross-sector Expert Housing Advisory Panel to guide delivery of Housing 2041 and increase collaboration across Government and the housing sector
  • better use of government-owned land and information to develop new housing types, tenures and delivery models
  • strengthening relationships with local governments, the community housing sector and developers to trial new innovative housing solutions. 

“Collaboration is key to housing success over the next 20 years.  For the first time the NSW Government will bring together the broad housing-related expertise that exists in NSW through the creation of the Expert Housing Advisory Panel,” Mrs Pavey said.  

Minister Pavey said to assist in future planning for the housing sector, the Government is also announcing a new online interactive mapping tool that will increase transparency of the State’s property portfolio and encourage private investment on public land. The Portal allows searches of Government owned land, and outlines planning conditions on that land in order to facilitate these temporary uses.

“The Government Property Index (GPI) provides a free, one-stop shop for information on NSW Government-owned property and allows industry to put forward innovative proposals for that land to improve utilisation and benefits for local communities,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Not only will the GPI provide transparency and accountability of the state’s vast property portfolio, it will encourage investment proposals through the establishment of a new public proposals process.

“We are always looking at how we can best leverage government-owned land and property to deliver better economic, social, environmental and cultural outcomes for the people of NSW.

“Better use of our data will lead to better decision-making and, ultimately, better housing outcomes for the people of NSW.”

The public, Councils, NGOs and developers can search for government owned land and put forward innovative proposals to put the land to better use. This may include TSA or something else, such as additional community housing.

Housing 2041 was informed by sector-wide consultations and community feedback following the launch of a Discussion Paper in June 2020.