Jobs summit a success but swift action must follow

26 February 2009

Todays job summit was a success, but will mean nothing unless the NSW Government acts swiftly on its conclusions, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the government was right to admit it did not have all the answers.


Theyve done the right thing by sitting down and talking to business about the economic crisis, he said.


The Urban Taskforce told the summit that NSW can only avoid a severe recession if private sector residential housing development is re-started and 11,000 hectares of Western Sydney land is made available for new job-creating industries.


Government public housing programs wont be enough to get the economy moving, Mr Gadiel said.


There simply isnt enough cash in the governments vault to replace normal private sector development activity.


NSW home approvals have been on the way down for 12 straight months a fall of 31 per cent.


The major housing projects awaiting approval should be dealt with quickly and funding for the necessary infrastructure must be committed by government.


The NSW governments announcement last week that it will streamline town planning rules for public housing projects is welcome, but the same measures should be adopted for private sector projects.


Mr Gadiel said the seeds of recovery have already been sown so long as governments take action now to create a pro-investment, pro-jobs environment.


Once confidence returns, we can expect a strong housing recovery.


The dramatic cut in interest rates has significantly boosted disposable income in the mortgage belt. Years of pent-up housing demand will have to be met.


Mr Gadiel said that the development of idle land in Western Sydney could pave the way for a Silicon Valley-style jobs boom.


Last years state budget promised the rapid rezoning of 11,000 hectares of rural land in Western Sydney to support $2 billion in new job-creating development.


This land needs to be made available for industry, business parks and retail development as a matter of urgency, Mr Gadiel said.


The construction activity made possible by property developers has historically contributed $69 billion to the national economy each year and directly supported 709,000 jobs.


The credit squeeze is having a major impact on the availability and cost of business finance stopping new construction projects dead in their tracks, Mr Gadiel said.


Once current development projects are completed we will see a rapid loss of construction jobs.


Every $1 million in construction expenditure creates 27 jobs throughout the broader economy.


Mr Gadiel said that businesses should be encouraged to make development applications even if they are not certain they have the necessary finance.


This means allowing development applications an extra two years before they lapse, he said.


Mr Gadiel said the true value of the jobs summit will only be apparent when the government releases its response expected within four weeks.


We hope the government responds to the very clear messages business has sent today, he said.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.



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