Public statement February 23, 2024

Today I submitted my comments to the Deputy Secretary Planning, Land Use Strategy and Housing, at the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The Explanation of Intended Effect: Changes to create low and mid-rise housing - Request for comment on proposed changes

Dear Deputy Secretary Gibson,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input to the consultation on infill affordable housing as part of revisions to the Housing SEPP – the Proposal. I make this submission as the community independent candidate for the federal seat of Bradfield, which covers the entirety of Ku-ring-gai and parts of Willoughby and Hornsby LGAs. In this capacity, I have been asked by local community groups to assist in supporting their opposition to the Proposal, as it stands.

Each of these opposing groups acknowledges the urgent need to provide the north shore, NSW and Australian communities, with more affordable housing. The urgent provision of more affordable housing is not the basis of these groups’ opposition. Local community groups have voiced deep concern, and in some situations anger, over the process – one that currently lacks clear communication and stakeholder engagement.

We need this critical public policy initiative to be successful. That’s why these communities must be at least heard and their issues considered. By administering a more meaningful and consultative process, the considerable knowledge and expertise that is embedded in our communities, could be built into forward plans to deliver the NSW Government’s aims in the context of the local community’s local environmental, cultural heritage and placemaking priorities. An improved process could add value to responding to this complex and critical nationwide challenge. A disregard for these inputs would likely result in a poorer policy response.   

A further grievance expressed by groups is that the bases of the Proposal have not been shared; instead, they are classified ‘cabinet in confidence’ [footnote 1]. It is not adequate or appropriate that the government states that it:  

“undertook an analysis of 305 metro and heavy rail stations to identify “locations that have enabling infrastructure capacity” that would allow for greater housing density. The department used an “evidence-based approach that used planning, infrastructure and spatial data, along with expert analysis and feasibility analysis” 

Stakeholders in my community hold particular concern about the disregard for heritage and conversation listings. As an example, the Erlydene Trust proposes adopting a master planning approach that would take into account the complex and competing stakeholder values in this vital policy area for our community; a constructive proposal that I wholeheartedly support.  

As I have stressed in my public statement on this issue, any policy - but especially policy in a complex multi-government area such as housing - must be done:  

  • EFFECTIVELY: to deliver affordable, temporary, and permanent shelter to those most in need – resident front line workers, students, single parent families and aging women – in a manner that ensures adequacy of infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, public transport and parking spaces.   
  • SENSITIVELY: protecting areas of high biodiversity, conservation and heritage value  
  • SAFELY: in the context of a changing climate and Australia’s national commitment to net zero no later than 2050.  
  • TRANSPARENTLY: with impacted communities and engagement of experts and specialists that are not solely driven by profiting from real estate.  

I look forward to seeing the requested and required revisions to the Proposal’s process and outcomes. 


Nicolette Boele 

Community independent candidate for Bradfield 


Footnote 1: Michael McGowan, ‘Only 10 per Cent of One of Labor’s Signature Housing Policies to Be Delivered by End of Housing Accord’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 February 2024, section NSW [accessed 15 February 2024].