When the Dialogue was established in 2011, there was significant community concern that the sharp growth of the Upper Hunter’s coal sector was putting pressure on some infrastructure, services and the availability of affordable housing.
The Dialogue established a Social Impacts and Infrastructure theme to address these concerns, with several projects undertaken to address specific issues in this area overseen by a Joint Working Group.
The Joint Working Group was later put into abeyance in 2015 due to the projects addressing the specific concerns raised by stakeholders and no additional matters being identified by members at that stage.
See below for the Dialogue’s key Social Impacts and Infrastructure’
Housing Research Study
The Dialogue commissioned a study to better understand housing needs in the Upper Hunter. The aim of the study was to identify the drivers of housing affordability and availability in the Upper Hunter, and how government, community, industry and the housing sector can work together.
The project also involved a workshop with local and state government, business and mining and the housing sector, in which participants unanimously agreed that many of the most significant issues should be addressed by an Upper Hunter strategy and that the three local councils, Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter, as well as the State Government are best placed to develop this strategy.
Stage 1 information papers:
● Stage 1 Scoping report – which draws upon existing research and consultation with key stakeholders to assess the state of issues, opportunities and capacities in the Upper Hunter region and leading practices in other jurisdictions.
Stage 2 information papers:
● Short term Accommodation – a baseline survey of the existing supply of hotels, motels and caravans.
● Affordable Housing – potential for pooling resources to address the supply of affordable housing.
● Infrastructure – options to fund and finance infrastructure to support future housing development.
Final Workshop and Next Steps
● Workshop Report – A report has been prepared which represents a ‘first pass strategy’ (i.e. a good starting point for local and state government to begin work on a detailed planning and programs that will address housing in future growth periods).
● The Department of Premier and Cabinet will consider how the NSW Government can respond to the ideas and actions identified by the workshop. Andrea Young Planning Consultants have also provided advice on how that strategy could be developed with leadership from local and state government, and input from the housing sector and industry.