The NSW government has unveiled the first tranche of “shovel-ready” projects it says will kick start the state’s lethargic construction pipeline in the wake of Covid-19.
The 24 projects include Malcolm Turnbull’s pet project Snowy Hydro 2.0—a $4.6 billion injection—along with 4,441 new homes and the $1.5 billion redevelopment of the Mt Druitt CBD.
The first tranche of development will be decided upon within the next four weeks, planning minister Rob Stokes said on Tuesday.
A large portion of the 1,000-odd affordable homes included in the list come from the Land and Housing Corporation’s $1.8 billion Ivanhoe Estate masterplan.
A leak from the government’s Land and Housing Corporation to the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that the Berejiklian government is considering more than $500 million in social housing stimulus.
According to the Herald, the document listed several projects where the government could negotiate with developers to buy dozens of unsold apartments.
Housing-focused economic stimulus has been put forward by construction industry bodies—alongside the federal opposition—to offset the expected declines and job losses in the sector.
Housing starts are expected to dip below 100,000 in coming quarters, about half of the 174,000 recorded in 2019.
NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet said that fast-tracking approvals is one of the “pillars” of the NSW’s planning system acceleration program the government announced in mid-April.
“We know our planning system will be a key lever in driving investment in NSW as we come out of this crisis,” Perrottet said.
Victoria has fast-tracked approvals for a number of projects worth about $1.5 billion after establishing a planning taskforce in response to the crisis.
Major reform to keep the development approvals pipeline humming was agreed to at the national planning ministers’ forum last week.
The agreement sets out a series of principles, including consistency between jurisdictions and the instruction that “all reasonable effort” must be made to maintain the usual pace of planning approvals.
NSW planning director at Place Design Group Ian Cady said that the criteria is still being developed for the fast-tracking of priority projects.
“While video conferencing has allowed the planning approval process to proceed, and the [NSW] minister has initiated a review of developer contributions, there are clear signs that project initiation has slowed and the contributions review will be at least a year away,” Cady said.
A list of the fast-tracked projects is available here.