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Housing crisis forces councillors to talk big on tiny solutions

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More tiny homes, granny flats, units and duplexes could feature on more planning proposals soon, after Lake Macquarie City Council spent Monday night’s February Standing Committee discussing ways to solve the current housing crisis.  

During the monthly meeting, the group adopted two items of concern, including a move to progress a housing diversity planning proposal to permit a wider range of housing options across all residential zones. 

It follows a written request from NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully in November 2023 declaring the state was in a housing crisis and requesting local governments increase options and diversity in their catchments. 

Council
In October 2023 Councils were instructed by state government to speed up DA processing times to help ease housing stress.

He first raised his concerns over housing affordability in Parliament in February 2018 where he accused the then-Turnbull-government of being more interested in putting money into rebuilding great stadiums in Sydney, than in addressing housing affordability. 

In February 2024 during Question Time at Parliament, Mr Scully was still taking the topic to task. 

“We must help with the cost-of-living crisis by making the biggest cost-of-living issue—housing—more affordable,” he said.

Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser, who had previously raised a Mayoral Minute at Council’s December 2023 Ordinary Meeting after addressing the Minister’s letter, agrees change is necessary to tackle the escalating issue. 

“Lake Macquarie needs to ensure housing supply caters for the needs of changing demographics and ensures affordable options are available now and into the future,” she said. 

“By 2036, couple families without children and lone person households will account for almost half of all households in our city. 

“Allowing diverse and smaller homes supports more efficient use of infrastructure, development in residential zones, public transport viability and reduced living costs, ultimately increasing access to affordable housing.” 

This week’s meeting also saw councillors adopt an amendment to the Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan 2014 to simplify the approval process for dwellings on undersized lots. 

A proposed 12-unit strata subdivision in Charlestown was deferred pending a site inspection, following two presentations from concerned community members in public forum. 

Councillors also deferred determination on a planning proposal and development control plan changes for infill housing pending a councillor workshop. 

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