11 May 2011
The key principles for the Federal Governments new National Urban Policy, released with the budget papers last night, are a win for Australias cities and will help homebuyers, according to the Urban Taskforce. The Federal Government has laid out the principal elements of the National Urban Policy in a ministerial statement by Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese.
The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the principles were a refreshing shift in direction.
The discussion paper released last year declared that it wasnt environmentally sustainable to expand low density greenfield suburbs of detached houses, Mr Gadiel said.
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 want the choice of a house with its own backyard.
No government should set out, as policy, to deny them that option.
Mr Gadiel said that the principal elements of the National Urban Policy released last night recognise the need for a strong supply of all housing types across our urban areas.
The government policy statement supports:
¢ a range of housing types to suit diverse households across all parts of cities;
¢ 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 multi-use zoning which permits a range of activities.
These are important goals, and the Federal Government should seize next 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.