The NSW government will fast-track up to 112,000 new homes across Greater Sydney and the Central Coast as Labor faces pressure to address the state’s worsening housing crisis.

The reforms, revealed on Tuesday, are aimed at allowing a more diverse mix of homes across council areas, including residential flats, small apartment units and duplexes.

In total, the homes represent about 30 per cent of properties needed to meet NSW’s 2029 Housing Accord target and will also be built in the Illawarra and Hunter Coast regions.

Planning Minister Paul Scully said the government needed to change the way it planned new housing to confront the growing crisis, including creating capacity for infill.

“Sydney is one of the least dense cities in the world but fewer than half of councils allow for low and mid-rise residential buildings in areas zoned for such homes,” Mr Scully said.

“Diversity of housing allows people to stay in their communities and neighbourhoods through different stages of their life, with family and friends able to live nearby.

“More housing choice means more options for everyone – renters, families, empty nesters. Density done well means townhouses, apartments and terraces clustered near shops, high streets and parks.

“Sydney has grown using these housing types. Look at homes in Wollstonecraft, Waverton, Erskineville, parts of Wollongong or Newcastle. They’re great places to live, we just need more of them.”

Under the plan, dual occupancy properties will be permitted on low-density R2 zoned land, with terraces, townhouses, and two storey apartment blocks to be built near transport hubs in the identified areas.

Mid-rise apartment blocks near transport hubs and town centres will also be introduced. Changes to state government planning policy will also encourage councils to adopt more medium-density homes.

The announcement was welcome by advocacy group Committee for Sydney CEO Eamon Waterford who lauded the plan a “big win for sensibly filling in the gaps in our city’s missing middle”.

“These announcements will mean more terraces and low-rise apartments within walking distance of town centres – places where people want to live,” Mr Waterford said in a statement.

“This will allow many more people to access jobs, parks and education, while maintaining the low-rise nature of these suburbs – a win for new residents, and a win for existing residents.”

The proposed changes come after the NSW government identified what it called a “significant gap” in approval for higher density housing options under council Local Environment Plans (LEP), including one to two story flat units.

According to the state government, only six per cent of LEPs allowed for one and two storey units to be built on low-density R2 zone land. Councils also prohibited resident flats of any scale on R3 medium-density zoned land.

In NSW, councils are able to decide what sort of homes are built in their region, including prohibitions on certain builds. They have recently faced pressure from the state government in its push for greater housing density.

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By Rahul

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