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Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Page: 5993

Housing Supply and Affordability Reform

(Question No. 593)

Senator Ludlam asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 12 April 2011:

Given that the department's brief to the incoming Government (the 'Red Book'), warned of Australia's worsening housing affordability, along with problems of low density living, declining amenity and growing congestion, stating that such issues resulted from fractured and ineffective governance arrangements, and that the department advised the incoming Government to enhance the effectiveness of funding to help Australians in terms of housing, to investigate taxation and planning reforms, and to expedite National Urban Policy Reform, which includes a Housing Supply and Affordability Reform agenda:

(1)   How is the department:

   (a)   investigating taxation and planning reforms;

   (b)   expediting the National Urban Policy Reform; and

   (c)   contributing to the Council of Australian Governments' Housing Supply and Affordability Reform agenda.

(2)   What resources are devoted specifically to housing affordability, including full time equivalents and specific work units within the department.

(3)   Given that sprawl costs an estimated $343 million extra per 1 000 lots, when compared to infill development, how is the department currently:

   (a)   factoring in the costs of fringe development to the economy; and

   (b)   working to determine whether land use and the construction industry are being utilised as efficiently as possible.

Senator Wong: The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Department is working with the States and Territories as part of the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG's) Housing Supply and Affordability Reform (HSAR) agenda on an examination of zoning and planning processes and governance. The Department was also consulted in the Productivity Commission's preparation of its study on Performance Benchmarking of Australian Business Regulation: Planning, Zoning and Development Assessment. The Department is engaged in the COAG Reform Council's work on planning under the Capital Cities Strategic Planning Systems

The National Urban Policy was released by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP on 10 May 2011.

The Department chairs the HSAR Working Party that is preparing the final HSAR report to COAG later this year.