The New South Wales Government has announced the State’s councils can now bid for interest subsidies to build on greenfield sites under round two of the Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme.


State Minister for Local Government, Don Page, said councils are being encouraged to use the subsidies to combat the State’s growing housing shortage.


“There is a critical housing shortage in NSW, particularly in high growth metropolitan areas of the state, with Sydney taking in an extra 50,000 people each year – and finding affordable housing is increasingly difficult even in regional centres,’’ Mr Page said.


“This is the equivalent of the population of Wagga Wagga being added to Sydney each year and the Liberals & Nationals Government is working to ease the burden on families struggling to enter the housing market.


“The new subsidy will help clear one of the major bottlenecks to housing development – and make it easier for council to afford to provide infrastructure for new dwellings and services for residents on greenfield sites.’’


Under the new guidelines for the scheme projects will be favoured if they are essential for new housing development to occur, including schemes involving roads, stormwater, water supply and sewerage.


Mr Page said councils should say where a project fitted in with the State’s existing infrastructure or new schemes.


“For example, priority may be given to local road works that feed into a regional network if there is sufficient capacity in the regional network,’’ he said.


Under round one of the hugely successful scheme $430 million was unlocked, making possible 82 infrastructure projects across NSW.


“Given the success of the last round of the scheme, there is potential for the next round of the scheme to unlock over $700 million in infrastructure projects – including new infrastructure for greenfield housing sites,’’ Mr Page said.


In addition to housing infrastructure, the next round of the scheme provides councils with a 3 per cent interest subsidy for up to 10 years on loans to pay for backlog infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, community halls, libraries, paths, parks and water facilities allowed to run down under Labor.