Resilient Land Program – Frequently asked questions
Answers to frequently asked questions about the Resilient Land Program.
Resilient Land Program
The Resilient Land Program is part of a coordinated suite of measures to enable the sustainable supply of suitable land to deliver housing options in the Northern Rivers. It is being delivered as part of the Resilient Homes Fund, alongside the Resilient Homes Program that was announced in October 2022.
The Resilient Lands Program is being delivered through a seven-step Resilient Lands Roadmap (the Roadmap). The Roadmap began with the opening of the Resilient Lands Expression of Interest and will lead to investment of the $100 million Resilient Lands Fund to deliver a range of options in the Northern Rivers for flood impacted residents and the Northern Rivers community.
The Landholder Expressions of Interest was the first step of the Resilient Land Program and will allow the NSW Government to work with the community to understand land availability options in the Northern Rivers.
Steps 1, 2 and 3 of the Roadmap are now complete.
Step 4 – The draft Resilient Lands Strategy was on public exhibition until 30 June 2023.
Step 5 - Resilient Lands Strategy review.
To ensure a robust process that provides additional homes, reduces community risk and effectively considers environmental values, all expressions of interest applications were reviewed using a two-stage Land Suitability Assessment.
The first stage of the assessment process was undertaken using the Department of Planning and Environment’s Land iQ system. Land iQ is a world-first data platform that uses smart technology to rapidly but robustly assess land based on more than 100 datasets. This assessment includes consideration of flood and bushfire risk, environmental values and strategic alignment with state and local government plans.
The second stage of the assessment process has been undertaken by a Resilient Lands Expert Panel (the Panel). The Panel assessment considered relevant factors, such as natural hazard risks alongside the balance of social, cultural, environmental and economic values that can help support the Northern Rivers reconstruction and recovery.
As part of the Resilient Lands Program the NSW Reconstruction Authority is consulting with councils across the seven flood-affected Local Government Areas, government agencies, the development and construction industries, local community members and other stakeholders to plan the pathways to deliver housing and contribute to a strong social and economic future for the region, as quickly as possible.
The draft Resilient Lands Strategy was on exhibition, until Friday 30 June 2023. All submissions will be considered prior to release of the final Resilient Lands Strategy.
Resilient Lands Strategy
The Northern Rivers region suffered chronic housing stress prior to the February 2022 flood event. It was then exacerbated by the catastrophic flooding.
The Draft Resilient Lands Strategy outlines the work undertaken to date as part of the Resilient Land Program. It sets out the next steps to identify a sustainable pipeline of land and housing to support the relocation of residents impacted by the 2022 floods.
The Draft Resilient Lands Strategy identifies a pipeline of land to support housing that will help alleviate some of the underlying housing pressures in the region.
It identifies 22 sites across the seven Northern Rivers LGAs with 15 sites under immediate investigation under the Resilient Land Program.
The 15 sites have the potential to support up to an estimated 7,800 homes over time and development stages. These figures will be confirmed on a site-by-site basis as technical and due diligence investigations progress.
Action will continue to be needed to address the region’s housing issues, including:
- Business as usual land release and development supported by local and state government and the development industry
- New social and affordable housing through government and non-government partners
- Commonwealth sponsored affordable housing initiatives
The NSW Reconstruction Authority is now progressing on-ground and due-diligence investigations for short-term sites in each of the seven Northern Rivers LGAs. These sites are targeted for residential development to support the relocation of Northern Rivers residents out of high-risk areas.
The authority is working to boost housing options for relocating residents as quickly as possible. The timeframe to deliver each site will depend on individual circumstances such as land zoning, existing approvals and ability to service land with water, power and sewerage infrastructure.
The Draft Resilient Lands Strategy has been informed by a comprehensive two-stage land suitability assessment of Expressions of Interest (EOIs) submitted under the Resilient Land Program, council-identified land and Crown land.
As part of this process, sites were reviewed by the independent Resilient Lands Expert Panel who looked at the sites in the context of a number of criteria associated with environment, climate change and resilience, community, social wellbeing and sense of place and urban planning and deliverability.
The NSW Reconstruction Authority has engaged with councils, State government agencies, non-government organisations and community members throughout preparation of the Draft Strategy to ensure cross-government coordination and alignment, and that the needs and views of the Northern Rivers communities were considered.
Following the land suitability assessment, the Resilient Lands Expert Panel recommended sites under the following categories:
Short-term sites – sites identified for immediate on-ground investigations to support the relocation of residents impacted by the 2022 floods.
Medium-term sites – sites that have potential benefits, to be confirmed through further investigation for future natural hazard events.
Long-term sites – sites that have strategic merit but require further work to provide for residential development.
The Draft Resilient Lands Strategy was developed in consultation with each of the seven Northern Rivers councils. It builds on and complements local council strategies that identify land for future development, as well as the North Coast Regional Plan 2041 urban growth areas.
The Draft Resilient Lands Strategy does not replace council strategies or override the NSW Planning framework.
The release of the Draft Resilient Lands Strategy enables the NSW Reconstruction Authority to progress a range of options and initiatives which aim to address the needs of some homeowners accepting a buyback under the Resilient Homes Program.
The authority has engaged case workers to support residents throughout the Resilient Homes Program. These case workers will continue working with residents who receive a buyback offer to provide continued support and help identify the relocation options that best suit their needs.
As individual site investigations progress under the Resilient Land Program, the NRRC will confirm and publish a development program that outlines the timing and milestones for delivery on a site-by-site basis.
To help the authority better understand what types of housing are most needed across the Northern Rivers, homeowners who may be eligible to receive a buyback have been invited to respond to a survey that asks questions around the household’s needs and preferences for relocation.
These survey responses will help the NRRC improve the delivery of housing options in each LGA to respond to each community’s needs.
As part of housing development, the NSW Reconstruction Authority will work towards a housing response that meets the needs of each impacted community. This will include housing types and options that reflect the households in each area and consideration of diverse housing types, key worker housing, and social and affordable housing.
The authority is also working closely across government to develop a range of support pathways to assist people in accessing safe and affordable housing options.
Where homeowners participating in the Resilient Homes Program seek financial advice and assistance from solicitors and/or accountants, the NRRC can reimburse up to $3,000 (inclusive of GST) towards legal and accounting costs. To receive a reimbursement, landholders must provide valid invoices from solicitors and/or accountants.
Yes. The NSW Reconstruction Authority is currently developing guidance and advice to help support landholders identify if their home is a candidate for relocation, and what is involved in this process. We will share more information as soon as it is available.
Yes. Land delivered through the Resilient Land Program will be available to both owner-occupiers and investors who provide rental accommodation.
Each site will also be evaluated for its potential to deliver affordable rental housing in partnership with Community Housing Providers
The Draft Resilient Lands Strategy includes sites put forward for assessment under the Resilient Land Program for the purpose of identifying a sustainable pipeline of housing that supports the relocation of residents impacted by the 2022 floods and reduces community risk to future natural hazards.
To understand where land approved for residential development occurs across each local government area, your local council’s housing strategies, growth management strategies or Local Strategic Planning Statements remain the appropriate source of information.
The authority has commenced on-ground technical investigations and due diligence of sites identified as short-term development opportunities in the Draft Resilient Lands Strategy.
Where these investigations confirm the site’s suitability to support housing for flood-impacted residents, the authority will look to invest in the delivery of housing at that site.
The authority can support delivery of housing by using funding available under the Resilient Land Program in several ways including:
- Financial support for project feasibility
- Delivery of enabling infrastructure to unlock site development
- Innovative housing pilot programs
- Financial support for social and affordable housing development
- Acquisition of land and government-led residential development
The authority has identified a pipeline of development of short-term sites identified in the strategy. Sites already zoned for residential use that have development consent for subdivision in place will have shorter delivery times than sites that still need to progress through planning and approval to enable residential use.
For sites that do not have a valid consent in place, the authority will facilitate master planning and detailed design work to support the necessary approvals to allow development to occur.
Funding available under the $100 million Resilient Lands Program will be used to support the development of land identified in the strategy. Where this funding is used to support the development sector delivering sites, it will be conditional on providing priority and support to flood affected residents and those participating in the Resilient Homes Program.
This work will be supported by case workers currently assisting residents through the Resilient Homes Program. Once residents have finalised buyback offers, they will continue to be supported as they identify relocation options that best suit their needs.
The Draft Resilient Lands Strategy identifies a sustainable pipeline of flood-safe land suitable for residential development across the Northern Rivers.
Additional work is underway within the authority and across government to support the broader reconstruction program, including the coordination of critical infrastructure maintenance and upgrades, a suite of economic revitalisation programs, community-led vision for key urban centres, and consideration of nature-based solutions in floodplain management.