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Labor to cut housing headaches.



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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Housing; Urban Development; Local Government and Territories

30/11/06

90/06

Labor to cut housing headaches

Home buyers around Australia will benefit directly from Labor's plan to cut red tape on development approval and compliance for home builders, enabling approvals to keep pace with demand for housing.

One hurdle for Australians builders is getting development approved at local government level. While ensuring that the developments meet local and State planning requirements is critical, a lack of consistency in processes between local governments adds costs and leads to delays.

Local government planners are often burdened by inadequate systems which mean that they have to do more work for each application, especially where developers miss key steps or fail to provide all the information.

Labor will extend the Electronic Data Exchange standard nationally to streamline development applications and building approvals and cut the cost of housing. The scheme will cut red tape, saving families, builders and local authorities' precious time and money at a time when housing affordability is at its lowest level ever.

Labor will work with State and local governments to ensure adequate funding and will draw on the Regulation Reduction Incentive Fund for a Commonwealth contribution.

A $26 million investment would help 100 local governments in major growth regions to streamline approval processes. Such an investment would build on the successful Queensland model which has assisted 92 councils across Australia to cut red tape. The plan is part of Federal Labor's broader commitment to work with local government, rather than simply blaming them when things go wrong.

This policy also provides a concrete example of Labor's commitment to addressing Australia's housing affordability crisis. This commitment includes:

• Examining a government-backed shared equity scheme to enable Australians to get into their first home. • Better targeting the First Home Owners Grant to ensure it helps the home buyers who need assistance most. • Appointing a Minister for Housing and Urban Development to stand

up for home buyers, owners and renters in Cabinet. • Developing a national settlement strategy to allow all levels of government to plan for changes in population, housing demand and demographics.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson 0417 142 238.