8 August 2013 — The Urban Development Institute of Australia has criticised the major parties for remaining silent on housing policy leading up to the federal election.

“Almost one in every ten jobs in Australia is in the housing development industry, with the wider related industry contributing about 13.5 per cent of Australian GDP,” UDIA national president Julie Katz said.

“It’s deeply concerning that neither of the major parties have yet announced a clear plan for such an important sector of the economy.”

UDIA has called on all political parties to detail their housing policies to ensure the industry will be able to deliver economic growth, jobs and affordable housing.

“If housing is to help fill the economic void left by the fall in the mining boom, major policy reform is required to address constrained land supply, poor planning, inadequate investment in infrastructure, unfair taxes on housing and red tape,” Ms Katz said.

UDIA has produced four key actions that the incoming government should undertake.

Deliver modern infrastructure to support our growing population by:

  • Exploring new ways to finance infrastructure at the local level by leveraging funding with private sector investment, and establishing a National Infrastructure Fund
  • Consolidating local infrastructure-enabling programs, such as the housing affordability fund and building better Regional Cities, into one program, and committing to ongoing and increased funding of the scheme
  • Creating a National Land Use Plan by linking Commonwealth funding to the establishment of State based land use plans that provide detailed, costed infrastructure plans underpinned by delivery timeframes

Deliver affordable housing now and for future generations by:

  • Identifying the land needed in our cities based on population forecasts, land use plans, and housing production, and establish a 15-year plan for the roll-out of land in our cities
  • Regularly auditing Commonwealth-owned land with a view to making unused Commonwealth land available for housing development in our cities
  • Establishing an inter-governmental agreement on local infrastructure charges to ensure that developer costs are benchmarked around the country and made public

Create a stronger economy and more jobs through a fairer taxation system by:

  • Encouraging State and Territory Governments to phase out stamp duty on property purchases over a five-year period
  • Broadening the base of the GST which will assist States to phase out stamp duties
  • Including developer levies in GST cost base calculations to improve housing affordability

Cut red tape by:

  • Enhancing opportunities for strategic assessments and bilateral agreements under the EPBC Act to create an integrated environmental approval process and avoid duplication
  • Directing the Productivity Commission to undertake a national benchmarking project to identify development bottlenecks in state and territory planning systems
  • Stopping Commonwealth measures to restrict development around airports and airport corridors beyond the current and existing standards