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Further action to keep housing affordable



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NEWS Brian Howe

RELEASEDeputy Prime Minister Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services

BH189/92 25 August 1992

FURTHER ACTION TO KEEP HOUSING AFFORDABLE

The Federal Government will work with industry and State and local governments to ensure that processes are in place to keep land prices down for home buyers in New South Wales, the Federal Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, Brian Howe, said today.

Mr Howe was speaking at a Residential Land Report 1992 seminar in Sydney, organised by the NSW Committee of the Indicative Planning Council (IPC) for the Housing Industry.

"In its latest report, the Committee found that the supply of land in the growth areas of Sydney would be adequate to meet demand, despite some difficulties in the short-term," he said.

"As stocks of vacant land are at a low level and the land supply pipeline is around 12 months, action needs to be taken now to guarantee that sufficient land will be available to meet housing demand in the Sydney region over the next two years."

The Report identifies steps necessary to guarantee this supply.

Further, the NSW Department of Planning, with the assistance of Federal Government funds, is conducting a study to investigate where likely bottlenecks could emerge in the land supply process during the housing recovery.

"While housing affordability is at its highest level in more than seven years, the long tern prospects for affordability depend on the achievement of industry efficiency gains," Mr Howe said.

The Federal Government was committed to providing secure affordable and appropriate housing into the next century - reflected in the comprehensive national housing policy announced in the 1992-93 Federal Budget last week.

"This policy will meet the challenge of providing a greater choice of affordable and appropriate housing and maintaining our towns and cities as great places to live," he said.

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Commonwealth-State Relations

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The Budget included $25.5 million over four years to establish the National Urban Development Program to encourage co-operative urban reform and the establishment of the Co-ordinating Council on Commonwealth Land to facilitate the release of surplus land.

Contacts Ross Gardiner, Minister's Office, (06) 277 7680 Lynne Gallagher, DHHCS, (06) 289 5325

SPEECH NOTES FOR THE HONOURABLE BRIAN HONE

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

AND MINISTER

FOR HEALTH, HOUSING AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

AT THE INDICATIVE PLANNING COUNCIL

FOR THE HOUSING INDUSTRY'S

NEW SOUTH WALES

RESIDENTIAL LAND REPORT SEMINAR

SHERATON/WENTWORTH HOTEL

SYDNEY

TUESDAY 25 AUGUST 1992

I am very pleased to join you today at this seminar on the New South Wales chapter of the IPC's Residential Land Report

1992.

Since I launched this Report nationally three weeks ago, the Federal government has announced a comprehensive national

housing policy.

I would like to take the opportunity to make some comments on the goals of that national policy and the initiatives that have been put in place for its implementation.

Housing Statement

The Federal Government is determined to ensure that Australians have access to housing that is secure, affordable

and most suited to peoples needs.

This is our objective whether people are home buyers, public housing tenants or renters in the private sector.

Australians deserve far more choice in housing, as needs differ across households.

And people can require different forms of housing over their lifetime.

Our cities and towns should continue to be great places to

live, while we work to safeguard our environment.

I am confident that with the co-operation of State, Territory

and local governments and industry, substantial progress will have been made in realising these objectives by the year

2000.

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The Residential Land Report

The housing and urban policies announced in the 1992-93 Budget have built on the work of the National Housing Strategy and the programs introduced following the Special Premiers Conference on Housing in 1989.

One such program was the three-year land information program, to which the Federal government contributed $1.5 million and which was ably managed by the IPC.

The three Residential Land Reports published by the IPC have contributed to the capacity of governments and industry to make informed planning decisions about the supply of residential land.

This has implications for the efficiency of industry and in

turn housing affordability, which we all welcome.

While the latest Report points to significant advances in the efficiency of the housing and land development industries,

the IPC has also clearly identified the need for further improvements.

Housing affordability is now at its highest level in over

seven years, underpinned by low interest rates and slow growth in house prices.

However, as we are all aware the longer term prospects for affordability depend on the gains in industry efficiency that

can be achieved.

The NSW Committee of the IPC has recommended in these reports that there be further improvements in strategic planning

processes, and in reducing the lead times for land supply

through the streamlining of the approvals process.

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The IPC has also recommended further improvements in the

available information on land supply in the Sydney region.

A key finding of the NSW Committee, on the basis of the information available to it, is that land supply in the outer metropolitan region of Sydney will be adequate to meet demand

in the medium-term.

However, the low stocks of vacant allotments and a pipeline of around 12 months supply indicates that the capacity of the

industry to meet increases in demand in the short-term is crucial.

I understand that the NSW Department of Planning is conducting a study, with the assistance of Commonwealth funds, into the likely impediments to the land development industry being able to meet demand in the growth areas of Sydney in this up-turn.

The report of the findings of this study could be available in the next few months.

I expect that as a result of these reports, and your deliberations today, the necessary measures will be in place

to ensure that land shortages, such as occurred in the last

housing boom, do not occur in NSW.

Specific initiatives

There are number of particular Federal Government initiatives

that I would like to mention to you today.

Comprehensive, timely and accurate data on land supply is a prerequisite for strategic planning.

The IPC found that in most States and Territories,

comprehensive data is still unavailable or difficult to

collect.

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In order to pursue this issue further, I have asked the IPC to convene a National Residential Land Information Conference later this year, at which State and local governments and

industry will have a major role.

The Government announced in the Budget the establishment of the National Urban Development program, at a cost of $25.5

million over four years to provide the basis for co-operative urban reform.

The program will contribute to a range of urban initiatives

aimed at improving the residential building sector, research and development and the continuing reform of approval and strategic planning processes in local government.

Under this program the Government is providing funds, under the management of the IPC, for an analysis of the efficiency of the infrastructure process, and of the efficient use of existing infrastructure.

The Building Better Cities program will be enhanced in 1992-93 by the acceleration of funding from later years to

increase effort on a number of projects already underway.

The Commonwealth has moved to facilitate the release of its

surplus land and to achieve a strategic role in the management of Commonwealth land disposal through the creation of the Co-ordinating Council on Commonwealth Land.

Conclusion

I would like to thank the Chairman of the NSW IPC Committee,

Mr Herb Shields, and the Committee members for their efforts

in undertaking the Residential Land Program and for this

final Report.

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I urge governments and industry to continue to take up the

directions which the Report identifies.

They are critical to the continuing success of our reforms

and most importantly to the provision of affordable and

appropriate housing for all Australians.

I wish you well in your discussions over the remainder of the day.