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Government releases guide to better more affordable housing

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DAVID SIMMONS New urban guidelines released today by the Federal Minister for Local Government, David Simmons, will assist developers, designers and local planners to provide better, more affordable housing.

Mr Simmons, acting on behalf of the Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, Brian Howe, said the aim of the Australian Model Code for Residential Development; Guidelines for Urban Housing. was to provide the best in urban planning and environmental design.

"Australian households are changing dramatically, " Mr Simmons said.

"By 2006 the number of income units comprising two people or only one will have increased by 75 per cent; the traditional family household will have fallen to 22 per cent; and the number of people over 55 will have increased to 23 per cent of the population.

"The traditional approach, of one house on a large block, is meeting the needs of only a small proportion of the population. We need to be innovative and look at what people really need rather then merely following old standard

formulas. -

"These guidelines will help ensure the right mix of housing to answer the needs and budgets of people of different ages and lifestyles."

Mr Simmons said AMCORD:Urban contains the technical basis on which proposals for medium and higher density housing developments could be assessed.

"It is based on the results of extensive research and consultation and incorporates the latest in engineering, town planning, environmental and urban design, urban economics and social issues," he said.

Mr Simmons thanked State and local government and industry for their contribution to the guidelines. . .

"These guidelines demonstrate the benefits of co-operative approaches by governments and industry," he said. .

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The guidelines apply to:

. sites designated for multi-unit development, integrated development or medium to higher density housing;

. infill development such as vacant sites in existing urban areas;

. residential components of mixed use development projects; and

. individual dwellings on sites of less than 300 square metres.

"They will promote a flexible, more innovative approach to urban development, making our cities better places to live in," Mr Simmons said.

"They will help developers and local government provide more choice in the types, cost and location of houses.

"They will assist them to build homes in a way which improves the physical environment and links in more efficiently and cost effectively with local urban infrastructure."

Mr Simmons said that the guidelines are being released for a period of discussion and trial to ensure they are the best available and practical for use by local government and industry.

"In addition, a program of seminars is being held throughout the country to assist local government and industry to develop their responses. "

The first seminar was held in Sydney today along with a panel session chaired by Chris Banks, Chairman of the Australian Housing Industry Development Council.

AMCORD:Urban is now available in draft form from the Federal Department of Health, Housing and Community Services.

Con-tact: Frank Maas, Mr Howe's Office, Phone: (06) 277 7680 Michael Wilson, DHH&CS, Phone: (06) 289 5322