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Notice given 12 April 2011

593  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—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.