Hunter Region needs infrastructure investment too
UDIA welcomes the funding announced in today’s NSW Budget for ongoing and new infrastructure projects that will support the overall economic development of the Hunter region, such as the M1 extension, Newcastle Inner City Bypass, Nelson Bay Road upgrades, and initial investment in longer-term fast rail. UDIA also welcomed the initial $3 million allocation to improve Mandalong Road, supporting new development in Morisset. Overall, however, with the importance of the Hunter Region to NSW, UDIA expressed its disappointment that today’s NSW Budget did not include critical funding for state road infrastructure to directly unlock housing supply in the Hunter.
Within the state’s fastest growing population corridor, supply of new serviced greenfield housing lots has not kept up with demand in the Hunter.
An increasing under-supply of housing is expected to continue to cause prices to rise. New house prices in the Hunter have increased by approximately 35% over the past year up from 16.1% last year. We now have a median price in Newcastle of $850,000, up from $675,000 at this time last year.
UDIA has been calling on the NSW Government, both directly and through our participation in the Regional Housing Taskforce community discussions, for housing supply to be boosted.
UDIA’s Building Blocks – Hunter report identified $146 million in state road funding that would unlock 18,000 new homes for the lower Hunter.
Disappointingly, none of these roads gained funding in today’s Budget. A new Homes for Regions program was announced, with $46.4 million over five years to support priority enabling infrastructure and government-led developments in regions, although it is unclear whether the lower Hunter will have access to this program.
UDIA calls on the NSW Government to back up its pledge to address housing affordability by investing in the state road infrastructure needed to increase housing supply.
The Budget does support housing supply in other ways, and UDIA welcomes:
- $300m for the Accelerated Infrastructure Fund across the state, which could support the delivery of local infrastructure such as the $102 million in local Hunter roads identified in UDIA’s Building Blocks – Hunter report.
- $33.8 million for the Regional Housing Development Program, including expanding the Urban Development Program (supporting 127,000 new homes in the 10-year pipeline).
- $106.7m over three years to create a Biodiversity Credits Supply Fund, which will provide a much-needed intervention to kickstart the biodiversity offset credit trading market by guaranteeing landholders will be able to sell the biodiversity credits they generate when they choose to use their land for conservation purposes. The Fund is intended to encourage more biodiversity protection while also supporting new housing supply by making it easier to offset any necessary biodiversity impacts from development.
UDIA will continue to strengthen our advocacy work in this regard to achieve the focused investment that our region needs.
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