NSW Budget 2024: A Catalyst for Housing and Infrastructure?

The recent NSW Budget allocates significant resources towards housing and infrastructure, shaping the future of urban development in the state.  As a firm with a holistic approach to urban planning, we examine the key measures and their potential impact.


Essential Social Housing Funding

“It is heartening to see that the NSW Budget is investing $5.1 Billion in social housing over the next four years, a substantial injection of funds for the purchase of land and construction of over 6,000 new social homes, and with a focus on providing housing for women leaving domestic and family violence. Over $1 Billion will also be spent on critical maintenance and repairs to ensure existing social homes continue to provide for those most in need. Ethos Urban looks forward to continuing to work with the responsible key government agencies, including Homes NSW, LAHC and AHO, to ensure that the planning process supports the efficient approval and delivery of these most critical housing needs in the current housing crisis,” commented, Karen Armstrong, Director of Planning.


Government Surplus Land to Play a Key Role in Housing Supply

“The promise of delivering 21,000 new homes by releasing government surplus land in combination with $520 m to speed up the planning system is encouraging. Having assisted the government in reviewing many of these surplus land sites, we look forward to seeing a suite of more suitable sites available for residential development.

We know that a number of State Government agencies are well-positioned and resourced to facilitate planning for this development. We will soon see the degree of planning and/or rezoning required to successfully plan for this development, with the funding aimed at expediating the planning process. The State Government's role as developers in achieving the ambitious overall housing target is essential, particularly where the feasibility of the balance of the residential development in Sydney and the regions is struggling. The mandate for government development to include a significant proportion of affordable housing is a necessary bonus, and we expect them to take the lead in achieving this goal,” according to Paul Altree-Williams, Director and National Precincts and Major Projects Lead


Funding for Critical Road Upgrades a Catalyst

“The 2024 NSW Budget includes welcome, but long overdue funding for critical road upgrades in the Mamre Road Precinct and the broader Western Sydney Aerotropolis. The NSW Government has committed:

  • $500m to upgrade Mamre Road Stage 2 between Erskine Park and Kerrs Road, Mount Vernon - matching equivalent funding of $500m announced in the recent Federal budget, bringing total investment to $1 bn in the Mamre Road Precinct
  • $400m to upgrade Elizabeth Drive priority sections - this matches the equivalent funding of $400m announced in the recent Federal budget, bringing the total investment to $800m.

While the funding is welcome, a fast-track process for design, planning approval and delivery of the road upgrades is critical, if the industrial land supply crisis in Western Sydney is to be eased.  To date, the lack of any certainty with respect to the timing and funding of these critical road upgrades has delayed the approval and delivery of key warehouse and logistics projects, particularly in the Mamre Road Precinct. Developers have sought to collectively facilitate road upgrades through planning agreements, in many cases having to incur significant non-offsetable costs for redundant works to facilitate the construction and operation of their projects. This process, in itself, has created significant delays in the planning approval process with the Government agencies not willing to allow assessment of the works under Part 5 of the EP&A Act, notwithstanding that Part 5 is a perfectly legal and valid pathway for environmental assessment and approval for what are works undertaken on behalf of roads authorities for public roads.

A business-as-usual approach by government agencies to the delivery of these road upgrades will be too little and too late. The key agencies of Transport for NSW and the Department of Planning Housing and Infrastructure need to work collaboratively with industry to unlock opportunities for critical elements of the roads to be fast-tracked through works-in-kind agreements and other arrangements with assessment and approval under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. It is often overlooked by commentators, but the Industrial land supply constraints and the resulting low vacancy rates and high rents in Sydney are key contributors to the high cost of construction for housing in the State," comments, Gordon Kirkby, Director of Planning.


The NSW Budget presents both opportunities and challenges for urban development in NSW. Ethos Urban stands ready to partner with government agencies and developers to ensure these initiatives deliver vibrant, sustainable and inclusive communities.

If you would like to continue the conversation or talk to one of our specialists about maximising the Budget's implications, please contact Director and National Precincts and Major Projects Lead, Paul Altree-Willams on +61 402 888 203.