Confidence in high rise 'key to ending housing crunch'

·3-min read
Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS

Restoring confidence in the troubled NSW high rise apartment industry is key to boosting dwelling numbers and unwinding the escalating housing crisis, the state's premier says.

"Supply is the big part of the missing jigsaw piece of the housing crisis in NSW," Premier Chris Minns told reporters on Tuesday.

"I've seen for too long confidence being undermined by poorly constructed, poorly built communities and buildings across NSW, which has meant that there hasn't been the support for dense urban living that we need in a place like Sydney."

The solution ahead lay in more densely populated suburbs filled with high rise apartments, the premier said.

"To do it well, you need to have a cop on the beat, who's looking after the people of the state."

It comes as the Minns government commits to establishing a building commission as the single body overseeing the construction sector.

It is hoped the commission will be up and running by the end of this year after the government consults with the sector.

The Minns government announced plans to establish the commission in the lead-up to the state election, partly in reaction to the fiasco at Mascot Towers which left owners of the 132-apartment block in Sydney saddled with debt.

Led by NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler, the commission will oversee and regulate the construction industry, which comprises 10 per cent of the state's economy.

The government will also introduce legislation to cut red tape, and restrict the operations of private building certifiers, limiting their work to 50 per cent with a single builder or developer.

Earlier, NSW Housing Minister Rose Jackson said she won't run from a fight to rapidly boost affordable and social housing in Sydney's north and east.

"If people just can't get their head around living in diverse communities, then we may need to look at more interventionist approaches," Ms Jackson told ABC's Radio National on Tuesday.

No part of Sydney should be exempt from having social and affordable housing available, she added.

"This can make our places better places to live," she said.

"We know that we have to deliver the infrastructure as well. A lot of the legitimate concerns people have is the traffic's already bad, the schools are already overcrowded."

Ms Jackson urged the federal Greens to get out of the way of the Albanese government's $10b national housing fund, saying it would deliver 16,000 to 19,000 properties over the next few years in NSW alone.

About 58,000 families and single people are on the public and social housing waiting list in NSW, with some told they will be waiting a decade.

It comes as Mr Minns directed his 22 ministers to identify land held by state departments that could be used for housing, with a minimum 30 per cent used for social and affordable dwellings.

But the idea appears to undermine a key pillar of the Minns government's election platform, to put an "end to privatisation in NSW".

"It's clear that Labor will say one thing before the election to get elected, and now do the opposite in government," Opposition Leader Mark Speakman said.

The government had been consistent throughout the campaign in its promises to convert public land into public housing, the premier said.

"It's not privatisation, not by even the loosest definition of it," Mr Minns insisted on Tuesday.

"We were very consistent and clear about our plans in relation to government land prior to the last election. We're not springing this on anybody."