Investing in “liveable” communities is vital for housing crisis

ALGA has responded to new research published in The Australian Financial Review showing a need to build more medium-density homes in inner-city and urban areas to address Australia’s affordable housing crisis.

The report, The case for medium-density housing in our large cities, showed housing supply has expanded at just 4.5 percent ahead of population growth over the 20 years to 2021, much slower than 17 percent above the population increase in the past 20 years.

The report’s author economist Tony Richards said medium-density homes could be approved quicker by local and state governments by making better use of land that is already zoned residential, not taking over parkland or recreation areas.

ALGA President Cr Linda Scott said the nation’s 537 councils had an obligation to plan for the most liveable areas for “existing” and “future” residents. “We must invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary to build vibrant communities, not just homes,” Cr Scott said.

The latest research from KPMG showed many new housing projects have been shelved or delayed due to soaring construction costs in Australia.  A 30 percent surge in residential construction costs has prompted this latest trend.

Councils are approving new housing developments across Australia.  For example, according to LAGQ’s  2023 Local Government Housing Strategy there are almost 100,000 residential lots across all monitored regions in Queensland that have been approved by councils but are not yet completed.  Around 60,000 of these lots were in south east Queensland.  The latest data from WALGA shows councils are efficient at processing development applications (DAs) with more than 90% of all DAs being processed within statutory timeframes.

Cr Scott also called for the Government to create a $100 million fund to help councils facilitate more affordable and social housing, to assist with land audits and housing assessments, and develop business models for housing projects.

“There is much more local government could do if funded to overcome the workforce shortages of town planners, engineers and other skilled construction workers.”

ALGA has also been invited to provide input for new housing supply and affordability reforms being developed by Australia’s Planning Ministers over the next six months.  We look forward to providing ideas and working with Ministers on these reforms that will support and enable local governments to facilitate more affordable housing in our communities.

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