Land banking an issue right across Tasmania, LGAT warns

The Local Government Association of Tasmania and member councils have raised concerns about land banking’s impacts on statewide housing supply.

LGAT President Christina Holmdahl told local media this week that solutions to the issue were needed.

She said councils could work with the government to release land that can be made available for affordable housing, but it was the state that needed to instigate action.

“We need some of the subdivisions that have been approved, quite a while ago, to be developed. Instead, they are being land-banked, and it is an issue across the state,” Cr Holmdahl said.

“We would certainly like to play a role but we can’t require developers to release already approved subdivisions. That is a state government matter that has to be handled by the state,” she said.

In March, the Tasmanian state government announced a new scheme it said will incentivise landowners to activate land for new residential subdivisions.

The $10 million Headworks Holiday program includes up to $5000 per residential lot for power and an additional $5000 for water and sewage infrastructure.

At the time, Finance Minister Michael Ferguson revealed there were around 5000 hectares of privately-owned vacant residential zoned land across Tasmania.

If activated, the land could deliver around 60,000 lots for residential development across the State, Mr Ferguson said.

Circular Head Council Mayor Daryl Quilliam said land banking was an issue in Circular Head, where tracts of land close to the townships, ideal for housing, sat unused.

Cr Quilliam said the landowners, for whatever reason, were holding on to the land and needed incentives from the government to start releasing it.

Northern Midlands mayor Mary Knowles said it was an ongoing issue for most municipalities,

“We could increase rates for vacant land … there are a few options, but we do need to encourage developers to develop their land so it is done sensibly, including in-field developments, or even in new areas.”