New PM must tackle housing supply and urban infrastructure

24 June 2010

The urban development industry welcomed the appointment of Julia Gillard as Australia’s new Prime Minister today and said there were urgent issues for her to attend to.

The Urban Taskforce’s chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that fixing the housing supply crisis and investing in city infrastructure must be on the top of her agenda.


“The current national housing shortfall is approaching 200,000, with a projection for it to grow to 308,000 dwellings over the next four years.


Constraints in the planning system are making it difficult to supply enough housing in south-east Queensland, Melbourne, NSW and Perth,” Mr Gadiel said.


“The shortage makes housing more expensive than it should be.


Just 28 per cent of homes sold are currently affordable to moderate-income households.


A massive 37 per cent of low-income renter households are officially in rental stress”that is, they are paying more than 30 per cent of their gross household income in rent.


Were seeing increased social and economic problems flowing directly from the housing undersupply in high population centres.”


Mr Gadiel said that solving the national housing crisis must be one of Ms Gillard’s top priorities.


“It’s very important that this leadership change does not de-rail the reform process agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments in April this year.


“At that meeting the former Prime Minister committed Australia to a serious process of microeconomic reform around town planning law.


“Mr Rudd had acknowledged the need to decrease the time it takes to bring housing to the market and reform government policies that act as barriers to supply.


Shortly the Council of Australian Governments is due to receive reports on:

  • the potential to reform land aggregation, zoning and planning processes;
  • nationally consistent principles for housing development infrastructure charges;
  • extending the land audit work to examine underutilised land and to examine private holdings of large parcels of land; and
  • the merits of measures to ensure greater consistency across jurisdictions, including local governments planning approval processes, in the application of building regulations.


“It’s crucial that the leadership change does not disrupt this work or delay consideration of these important issues,” Mr Gadiel said.


Mr Gadiel said that Infrastructure Australia was due to release an updated National Infrastructure Priority List in just six days.


“There was $32 billion in urban infrastructure projects identified as part of Infrastructure Australias ˜priority pipeline in the last infrastructure list that remain idle, including big public transport projects for Sydney and Brisbane.”


“Prime Minister Gillard should urgently make sure that proposals for new cities infrastructure will not be quietly dropped from the Infrastructure Australia priority list.


“Ms Gillard should consider re-starting the Federal Government’s program of investing in new infrastructure projects in our nation’s cities.”


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


The construction activity made possible by property developers contributes $78 billion to the national economy each year and creates 849,000 direct jobs.



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