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Boost to housing in regional cities.



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The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Minister for Sustainable Population

Boost to Housing in Regional Cities •

Julia Gillard,Tanya Plibersek,Tony Burke posted Sunday, 18 July 2010

Australia will boost housing in regional cities, such as Townsville, Newcastle and Mandurah, under a sustainable housing initiative aimed at taking pressure off our capital cities.

A re-elected Gillard Labor Government will make $200 million available to local councils in regional cities to help deliver more affordable homes.

Councils will be able to use this funding to invest in local infrastructure projects that will support new housing developments in the region. This infrastructure could include connecting roads, extensions to drains and sewerage pipes or community facilities such as parks and community centres.

It is estimated that up to 15,000 new homes for working families will be built in Australia’s regional cities over the next three years under this initiative.

The Building Better Regional Cities initiative is a reflection of the need to relieve pressure on our major urban centres, such as Brisbane and Sydney, to ensure Australia can grow sustainably. The initiative will also help to address the problem of housing supply in Australia.

Across Australia there are many regional cities with jobs and population growth, requiring more houses to be built to meet their needs.

Regional centres offer an excellent lifestyle with good schools, health services and shorter travel times than some of our major urban centres.

Many regional cities already have plans to build more homes in their region, but the plans are stalled or delayed because of a lack of funding for infrastructure.

Building Better Regional Cities will allow local councils to fast track existing plans to build housing for families in well designed, sustainable neighbourhoods.

Across Australia there are more than 40 non-capital cities with populations of 30,000 people or more. Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek and Sustainable Population Minister Tony Burke will write to the mayors of 46 cities to say that if Labor is elected, they will be formally invited to apply for the program if they wish.

To secure Federal Government funding, participating councils will need to put forward proposals, potentially in partnership with the private sector, for infrastructure projects that will help to deliver affordable housing.

Councils will need to demonstrate that there is land available for housing, community support for new development and strong expected jobs growth.

Councils will also need to demonstrate good urban design, environmental improvements and meet appropriate planning benchmarks.

It is expected that about 15 cities will be successful, receiving up to around $15 million each.

Funding for this program will come from a reprioritisation of existing funding for housing. It will have no net impact on the budget.