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Port Stephens anticipating 20,000 new residents in next two decades

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Due to the region’s popularity, Port Stephens Council is anticipating the LGA to be home to 20,000 new residents over the next two decades.

In fact, it’s already considered one of the top 10 Local Government Areas outside of Sydney.

And, as a result, council will review its housing strategy to meet those predicted needs.

Mayor Ryan Palmer said the population growth was being driven by the significant investment in Port Stephens and the broader Hunter.

“We know government investment in employment sectors such as defence and aviation, as well as transport investment to make access to surrounding areas such as Maitland and Newcastle, will continue to attract more people to live and work here,” he explained.

“We’re also aware they’re moving to regional areas like Port Stephens for an improved lifestyle balance as remote working opportunities increase.

“It’s this growth, combined with the cost of living, that’s driving the urgency to address housing supply shortages in our community.”

Cr Palmer admitted low rental vacancies across Port Stephens had begun to push middle-income families out of the market.

“People aren’t able to live in the neighbourhoods that they work in and are facing difficulties finding the type of homes that are right for their family.,” he said.

“It’s impacting our local businesses who are struggling to attract workers, particularly in the aged care, tourism, hospitality and health sectors.”

The NSW Government recently advised councils of their housing supply expectations, setting targets to guide investment across areas of NSW with high demand also in transportation, health and education.

It expects Port Stephens to boast 11,000 new dwellings over the next 20 years.

Council’s forecast supply over this period, however, estimates only 7,000 residences to be delivered based on the pipeline of housing development, leaving a potential shortfall of 4,000.

“We know that we don’t have a lot of unconstrained or undeveloped land available to meet this target, so we’re going to need to look at more diverse housing options in our town centres and opportunities to encourage more housing close to shops, services and transport options,” Cr Palmer said.

“Over recent months, we’ve been working with our elected council to look at how we, as a community, can address the issue.

“We’ve discussed opportunities to increase supply and the diversity of housing across Port Stephens in the short, medium and long term.

“In November, we’ll be hosting a Housing Forum, with key stakeholders from different sectors coming together to have in-depth conversations about what actions need to be taken to ease pressures and support Port Stephens into the future.

“Information gathered from our discussions at the conference will help guide the revision of our Local Housing Strategy (LHS), planned for public exhibition in early 2024.”

The LHS sets the strategic direction for future housing growth across Port Stephens.

It guides land use planning for new abodes and outlines the outcomes, priorities and actions to achieve balanced and sustainable growth.

For more information or how to share your thoughts on housing, visit haveyoursay.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/housing-strategy.

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