Get comfortable with vertical housing, NSW premier says

·3-min read
Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Sydney is on the way up, with the NSW premier calling for an end to the urban sprawl and a shift to more medium and high-rise housing.

In the face of rising anti-development sentiment in the inner suburbs, Premier Chris Minns says the city of 5.2m people must rebalance where it builds new homes.

That means more focus on homes along transport corridors and near job precincts.

"We have to get more comfortable with the idea of going up," he told the Sydney 2050 Summit on Monday.

"Apartment approvals are at their lowest since 2014, at the exact same time as Australia has a housing crisis."

In a message to anti-development not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) groups, the premier said higher development would help protect green and open spaces while allowing young people a chance to feel a part of the city's next story.

"Sydney cannot grow by adding another street in the western fringe ... every other week - you just can't do that," he said.

"The reason for that is you have to stretch social infrastructure over a bigger and bigger plane.

"That's not how London, New York, Barcelona or Paris (do it)."

Failing to provide that chance through affordable housing would have devastating economic and cultural impacts, he said.

"We don't see the mayor of New York saying 'Manhattan is full, we can't have any more buildings, we're done, we'll have to build in Hoboken (New Jersey)," Mr Minns said.

"Have faith that if we get the planning processes in place and we get world-class developers and planners in Sydney that look at Sydney in its totality, we can build beautiful cities with cutting-edge design."

The premier has ordered his ministers to identify what land held by their departments can be repurposed for housing.

Housing Minister Rose Jackson also on Monday called a pause on the sale of social and public housing.

The previous government's policy to sell off such properties to fund new ones has put the state in a worse position, she said.

The opposition's spokesman for planning and public spaces, Scott Farlow, said the Labor government shouldn't be telling communities to "get out of the way".

"Sydney needs Sydney solutions," he said.

"It doesn't need a copy and paste from New York and communities don't deserve to just have developments plonked on them.

"NSW needs to build more homes, but we need to ensure we bring communities with us on this journey."

The Community Housing Industry Association NSW said it was critical a significant portion of rezoned land is used to build social and affordable housing.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia welcomed the move to tackle the housing supply crisis by rezoning surplus public land for residential, saying it could lead to tens of thousands of new homes.

More than 58,000 families and individuals are on the social housing waitlist in NSW. Rent in Sydney has spiked by 13.1 per cent in the past 12 months according to CoreLogic data for April.