Strategy & Policy

Supporting greater access to affordable housing in NSW

St George Community Housing

Project Highlights

Developed a commercial and feasibility model of the NSW government’s proposed planning reform for inclusionary zoning.

Collaboration with St George Community Housing to develop a positioning paper to advocate for community and affordable housing through a effective implementation of the proposed reforms.

The bottom line

Delivering modelling and position paper for the proposed inclusionary planning reform in NSW to support the delivery affordable housing.

The Challenge:

Across Australia, housing affordability continues to worsen as market conditions deteriorate, constraining the delivery of new supply. Both the Federal and State government’s have been making moves to increase the supply of housing including social and affordable housing.

St George Community Housing (SGCH) in collaboration with Astrolabe Group sought to model the proposed NSW government’s planning bonus. The proposed bonus enables certain
developments to access a 30% height/floor space ratio increase in exchange for 15% of the total gross floor area being allocated as affordable housing. 

Our work provided a commercial and financial analysis to the proposed reforms and how these could be best implemented in NSW for ensuring community and affordable housing is delivered.

What we did:

Astrolabe worked with St George Community Housing across research, data and feasibility modelling to develop a position paper, including:

  • a horizon scan identifying policy and approaches across other jurisdictions
  • mapping against our land use and infrastructure journey map to demonstrate policy intervention interactions within current system and providing analysis through challenges and opportunities
  • developed modelling using feasibility testing
  • Spatial analysis to identify locations that would suit the criteria of the proposed policy.
  • reviewed the modelling by analysing the potential built outcome implications, including factors not considered that could impact on implementation of policy and outlined what groups would be affected.

To validate findings before finalisation, we met with key stakeholders across government and industry.

Image: Affordable housing policy must consider the needs of all stakeholders within the sector


  • Astrolabe delivered a positioning paper with St George Community Housing providing the evidence base to advocate for a staged implementation of inclusionary zoning to government. 

  • Our full report can be accessed at Proposed Planning Bonus for Affordable Housing

  • Read Australian Financial Review article Affordable housing mandates can work for developers (paywall)
  • A full briefing was provided to the Secretary, Department of Planning and Environment as well as an industry breakfast briefing in October 2023.

Client testimonials:

“A massive thank you for your work on the planning paper! I really appreciate your patience, persistence and expertise to craft the paper with all the work that sits behind it.”