‘Light-touch approach will lift housing affordability and supply’

Local and state governments should be incentivised to streamline planning and regulatory approvals and increase housing supply, a parliamentary inquiry has said.

The Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue’s report on the contribution of tax and regulation said that while land use policy is a state and local government responsibility the Australian government can play a useful role in coordinating and guiding policy and improving incentives.

“We should reward better planning policy administration, eg, streamlining approvals or bringing infrastructure contributions in line with social costs such as value capture and sharing,” the report said.

Among other things, the report recommended that state and local governments empower local communities to negotiate for higher densities in return for better infrastructure and that the Australian Government institute a grant scheme that pays states or localities that deliver more affordable housing.

Labor members of the committee issued a dissenting report saying the finding and recommendations did not address structural housing market issues and fell “well short” of outlining a path to more affordable housing for many.

Last week, the Australian Local Government Association lodged a submission for the Productivity Commission’s Review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreements that recommended a national housing summit to help shape a national housing affordability strategy recognised and endorsed by all three levels of government.

And ALGA’s 2022-23 pre-budget submission calls for new Commonwealth investment of $200 million over four years to support local government’s efforts in addressing affordable housing and homelessness.