New rules discriminate against 94 per cent of new housing

03 March 2009

Property developers today expressed alarm at new rules which will fast-track the 6 per of new housing developed by government agencies, but leave the other 94 per cent to wallow in red tape.

The rules were outlined by the Minister for Planning, Ms Keneally, in Parliament today. The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that the Federal Governments economic stimulus package would provide an important boost to the construction industry.


We support making housing more affordable and the best way to do this is to increase the supply of new homes, Mr Gadiel said.


The government is right to change the rules to make it easier for compact, pedestrian friendly development within 800 metres of all Sydney rail and tram stations, regardless of the zoning of the land.


This decision implements a key part of the 2005 Metropolitan Strategy.


However, were deeply concerned that the new rules only apply to non-profit organisations and government developers such as the State Property Authority and Landcom.


The new rules allow government developers and non-profit organisations to build housing for any purpose including re-sale on the open market.


The new fast-track procedure is not limited to social housing or rental housing.


Mr Gadiel said that the planning system has previously been blind to the identity of a development applicant.


Now, for the first time, a private business will face legally sanctioned discrimination when theyre trying to build housing to accommodate Sydneys future needs.


In the 12 months to September 2008, the private sector developed 28,000 new homes in NSW, while the public sector developed only 1,600.


Mr Gadiel said the new fast-track procedure was an admission that the existing system is not working for government and non-profit developers.


Private sector projects are caught up in red tape too, he said.


We believe the state government should give both public and private housing developments the same support.


Its a mistake to respond to a temporary economic downturn by making permanent changes to the law that discriminate against the private sector.


This will discourage the private sector from becoming involved in urban renewal in NSW.


Without private sector housing development we have no hope of getting the NSW economy back on track.


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


For every $1 million in construction expenditure, 27 jobs are created throughout the broader economy. The construction activity made possible by property developers contributes $69 billion to the national economy each year and creates 709,000 direct jobs. The construction industry is Australias third largest source of employment.



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