Construction workers in the city of Sydney have been building homes on top of empty lots and public parks for decades.
Now, it looks like the city is about to change its rules to make it illegal for workers to build on the ground.
The NSW Government has put forward a new legislation which would make it an offence for people working in the construction industry to build structures in the ground and “placeable materials” on top, in a move that could see hundreds of workers being charged and jailed.
The new law was unveiled as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian launched a $30m “Build Sydney” campaign to help the city tackle rising house prices and build more affordable homes.
She said the NSW Government had put forward “the most ambitious infrastructure plan in the country” to help build the state’s housing stock and ensure that the state had enough affordable homes for Sydney’s booming population.
“Newspaper headlines speak of a housing crisis and it’s an issue that’s affecting the lives of all Sydneysiders, and we’re going to be able to build that much faster,” Ms Berejaklian said.
It is not yet clear whether the new law would apply to the construction of new homes or to existing homes, but NSW Government documents obtained by the ABC reveal it will apply to residential properties built before July 1 next year. “
We have to build a whole lot faster, because we can’t afford to keep building on the empty lot and the empty public spaces.”
It is not yet clear whether the new law would apply to the construction of new homes or to existing homes, but NSW Government documents obtained by the ABC reveal it will apply to residential properties built before July 1 next year.
An official with the NSW Building and Construction Commission said the new legislation would make building on public land illegal.
“The law will apply in all instances where a dwelling unit is occupied, and where there are a minimum of seven residential dwellings and a minimum number of spaces,” the official said.