NSW housing reforms

The NSW Government has announced two housing reforms that will impact communities and pose a major threat to the heritage of NSW. Find out what's at stake, and how you can get involved.

The Transport Oriented Development program and Changes to Create Low and Mid-Rise Housing policy propose zoning changes to land surrounding railway stations and town centres which covers 43 local government areas.

The National Trust (NSW) estimates this will impact two-thirds of the heritage items listed in NSW. Rezoning these areas for greater density will impact communities from the Hunter, across Greater Sydney to the Shoalhaven, and out to the Blue Mountains.

We acknowledge the need to address housing shortages, however we call for heritage to be protected as part of a better planning solution.

The National Trust has made a submission expressing concerns over the blanket reforms and the unintended impacts.

Read our submission


The National Trust is calling for:

  • Existing heritage and environmental protections to remain to avoid the loss of important natural and built locations across the state
  • Heritage to play a role in new developments through adaptive reuse and sustainable planning
  • Avoidance of a one-size-fits-all approach and the demolition of many already liveable or adaptable spaces.

Have your say

The NSW Parliament has established an Inquiry into the highly controversial reforms. The National Trust also encourages everyone to write to their local member or the Minister for Planning to share your views on how the reforms could impact your community.


A closer look at the issues

Transport Oriented Development (TOD)

On 7 December 2023 the NSW Government announced the Transport Oriented Development (TOD) program. This program involves state-led rezonings within 1,200 metres of eight priority transport hubs in Sydney, and the rezoning of the land in a 400-metre radius around a further 31 Metro and suburban railway stations in NSW for more mid-rise housing and mixed-use development.

This change was not put on public exhibition for comment, and the NSW Government has advised that it is not intending to exhibit the draft State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) before it commences on 1 April 2024.

Detailed information on the criteria or analysis for selecting the stations slated for rezoning has not been provided, and the evidence for selecting these particular transport hubs has not been provided.

The National Trust is greatly concerned for many areas, including those that contain an intact heritage streetscape where local planning controls, such as heritage, will be turned off for these projects.

Changes to Create Low and Mid-Rise Housing

The Changes to Create Low and Mid-Rise Housing policy builds upon the TOD model, expanding to an 800-metre radius around all light rail, heavy rail and metro stations throughout the Six Cities Region.

The affected radius includes expansive areas of Sydney, and the land around rail corridors extending to Wollongong, Newcastle and the Blue Mountains.

The National Trust has calculated that approximately two-thirds of the listed heritage items in NSW are located within these areas, and that heritage protections will be turned off.

What this means for heritage

The National Trust itself is custodian of places that fall within the bounds of these rezonings, including Old Government House, Experiment Farm Cottage, Woodford Academy, Miss Porter’s House, Grossmann & Brough Houses and the National Trust Centre.

The National Trust understands the need to look for ways to help solve the very real housing crisis in NSW by undertaking development in proximity to existing infrastructure, but the impact of these “one-size-fits-all” measures throughout the whole of NSW will be totally inappropriate for many of the unique town centres and villages that will be affected.

What we’re doing

The National Trust has prepared a response requesting that the NSW Government recognises the need to consider detailed local planning, and continues to uphold the established controls that underpin the entire heritage and environmental planning system in NSW.

Heritage is one of the key drivers in creating the distinct character of many areas and that can help to inform “density done well”, however there is a legitimate concern that it will be the unintended victim of such wide-ranging reforms.

The National Trust made a submission in February 2024 expressing concerns over the blanket reforms and the unintended impacts. Read the submission.

How you can help

Call to action section

Write a letter

Write to your local member or the Minister for Planning


Become a member

As a National Trust member, you’ll help protect special places for future generations


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Find out more

The National Trust (NSW) has been campaigning to protect NSW’s built, cultural and natural heritage for over 75 years. Find out more about our advocacy work.

Stay-up-to-date on NSW’s housing reforms by subscribing to our monthly e-newsletter.