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On Friday 18 August 2023, New South Wales Premier, Chris Minns, unveiled a drastic new portfolio re-structure aimed at tackling energy challenges, climate change, environmental preservation and housing concerns.

From 1 January 2024, the Department of Planning and Environment will undergo a strategic division into two new specialised Departments: the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure.

Joining the new Departments will be the Office of Energy and Climate Change, currently housed within the Treasury.

As part of an ongoing Public Sector Review, any additional governmental structural adjustments will transpire following the unveiling of the 2023-24 Budget and Appropriations Bill, slated for September 19.

It is anticipated that these changes will be captured in the 2024-25 Budget.

NSW Premier, Chris Minns, noted, ““Our government will always keep people at the heart of our decisions, and it’s clear that we need to align our agencies with the most important issues facing our communities.

“That’s precisely what this change is designed to achieve.”

“The new Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water pulls together the collective environmental expertise of government into one place – creating a team ready to tackle one of our biggest challenges in energy security.

“The changes announced today will also provide a renewed focus and deep expertise to address the housing crisis.”

While the NSW Government has expressed its commitment to prioritising its citizens’ welfare and tackling housing supply, a level of scepticism about the ability of the newly established Departments to meaningfully impact housing supply will no doubt remain until practical steps are taken and implemented to materialise these ambitions.

With the housing crisis being deeply rooted and multifaceted, the restructured Department’s ability to expedite significant change remains uncertain. The Department of Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure appears to be a logical step and there is certainly hope that this reconfiguration will lead to concrete results in alleviating the housing crisis that has plagued NSW for more than a decade.

Vincent Young will keep you informed.

If you would like to know more about this article, contact Thomas Zilm, property partner, on 02 9261 5900.