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NSW regions call for increased housing funding

by Charlotte Humphrys11 minute read

A regional industry body has called for increased funding for housing and infrastructure in the NSW state budget, as more city-siders move to the regions.

Regional Cities New South Wales (RCNSW), an alliance of 15 regional cities across NSW, has called for increased housing and infrastructure investment from the state government as part of the NSW budget that will be handed down next Tuesday (18 June).

The alliance has lodged a pre-budget submission with the NSW government, recommending that the state budget provide greater support for regional cities as an increased amount of city dwellers have moved to the regions.

New data from the Regional Australia Institute’s Regional Movers Index found that two-thirds of Australia’s total regional migration came from Sydney during the first three months of this year.


NSW Premier Chris Minns noted recently when he announced updated housing targets for NSW, that the state had lost twice as many young people aged 30–40 between 2016 and 2021 than it gained.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the NSW’s regional population increased by 253,400 between 2011 and 2023.

The RCNSW recommended in its submission that the government allocate more funding to build new homes in the regions, provide additional support to regional businesses to keep up with the growing population, and address population forecasting methodology.

RCNSW’s chair and mayor of Dubbo Regional Council, Mathew Dickerson, said: “Our cities are clearly the place that people want to be so we want to make sure that our cities have the right level of housing to meet this demand.

“We know that housing pressures are a national issue but with the majority of regional migration occurring in NSW, our regional cities deserve to have their fair share of funding to make sure our communities are able to deal with this growing challenge.”

The NSW government announced last month that it will invest $137.19 million, with co-contributions of $64.7 million from five regional councils, to improve infrastructure in Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Shoalhaven, Tweed Shire, and Port Macquarie-Hastings. The funding also intends to support the delivery of 24,898 new homes through the government’s Accelerated Infrastructure Fund.

Dickerson said that “urgent investment” is necessary in all regional cities and that “the time for investment in regional housing is now”.

“Regional housing is an issue which simply cannot wait, it needs to be addressed now starting with a significant funding injection in this budget,” Dickerson said.

He added that the RCNSW is “committed” to working with the NSW government to identify and utilise unused land in regional cities while supporting the development of rental accommodation.

The RCNSW pre-budget submission also called for investment to increase the supply of social and affordable regional housing.

Regional brokers have noted an influx of city dwellers moving to the regions and are concerned about the flow-on effect that this trend has had on house prices, particularly for local residents.

[Related: City-to-regional movers causing flow-on effect: Brokers]

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