31 May 2011
The Federal Governments final National Urban Policy, released this morning, is a good outcome for homebuyers and the wider community interested in improving our cities, according to the Urban Taskforce.
The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the policy document was a marked turnaround from the discussion paper released by the government in December last year.
The discussion paper declared that it wasnt environmentally sustainable to expand low density greenfield suburbs of detached houses, Mr Gadiel said.
But this proposition was not backed up by any robust evidence.
Most outer suburban housing development takes place on low value agricultural land, old industrial lands and former quarry sites.
This kind of development presents no risk to Australias biodiversity.
Many home buyers still want the choice of a house with its own backyard.
No government should set out to deny home buyers of that option.
The National Urban Policy recognises the need for a strong supply of all housing types across our urban areas.
The government policy statement supports:
¢ locating housing close to facilities and services, including jobs and public transport, in more compact mixed use development;
¢ new outer metropolitan housing with access to facilities, services and diverse education and employment opportunities.
Mr Gadiel said the next stage of the process will be important.
A policy statement means nothing unless there is a clear intention to act on it, he said.
The Federal Government is now saying that it wants to address impediments to the better functioning of the housing market.
Theyre saying they want to improve planning and land release processes, increase code assessment of development proposals and make greater use of multiple-use zoning which permits a range of activities.
These are important goals, and the Federal Government should seize this weeks Productivity Commission report on planning, zoning and development assessment, and lead the states and territories on a major reform drive.
The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.