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The Hawkesbury Exempt from State Housing Policy

Jul 1, 2024

The Hawkesbury has been exempt from plans to force Low and Mid-Rise Housing in local government areas to boost the housing supply.

The NSW Department of Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure announced today that it would exempt the area from the proposed Low-and Mid-Rise Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).

The NSW Government’s contentious planning reforms aimed to increase housing density by permitting residential flat buildings of 3-6 storeys, terraces, townhouses, duplexes, and smaller 1-2 storey apartments in suburbs where such developments were previously restricted. The focus was on boosting housing supply near established town centres and train stations.

Hawkesbury Councillors had unanimously opposed the proposal, citing critical concerns over flood risk, preservation of local heritage, and the inadequacy of existing infrastructure to support a significant population increase. 

In a statement released today, Hawkesbury Council said it received a letter from the Department on Friday confirming that the Hawkesbury area would be exempt from the proposed reforms.

“The Department has made the right decision, and we welcome their thorough consideration of the concerns that we raised,” Hawkesbury City Mayor Sarah McMahon said in a statement. “Our town centres are iconic for a reason. We have carefully managed their development and growth over many years to ensure they retain their community feel and their heritage values. These reforms would have substantially changed all of that.

“Additionally, after eight floods in four years, it is abundantly clear that a significant increase in population in the Hawkesbury posed an unacceptable risk to current and future residents.”

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