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Morrison: undersupply is key housing affordability challenge.



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Thu, 2nd October 2008 MORRISON: UNDERSUPPLY IS KEY HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CHALLENGE

Scott Morrison MP Shadow Minister for Housing and Local Government

Federal Shadow Minister for Housing and Local Government, Scott Morrison MP, today used an address to a national HIA industry breakfast in Melbourne to nominate closing the ballooning undersupply gap in housing as the key challenge to putting more Australians on the path to home ownership.

Mr Morrison said: "We want to see policies that enable the housing market to put more Australians on the pathway to home ownership and move out of the cul-de-sac of dependence. The mismatch between supply and demand is driving up rents and increasing prices for new homebuyers faster than they can afford to save.

"In 2009/2010 housing undersupply will balloon to more than 55,000 homes, more than double current levels. These forecasts are likely to be further affected by the drought of capital caused by the global financial crisis and increasing building costs caused by the Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, increased union activity on sites across the country and ACTU calls for the abolition of the ABCC.

“To address the situation will require the real economic leadership that Malcolm Turnbull can provide to restore consumer and business confidence in our economy," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison highlighted the following issues in his presentation as critical to addressing housing affordability:

1. maintaining access to capital for homebuyers and the housing industry throughout the capital drought - keeping liquidity in the system and people in their homes.

2. unlocking land supply in our cities from the core to the fringe and acknowledging how state urban consolidation and planning policies combined with excessive infrastructure levies have strangled supply.

3. recalibrating how local, state and federal governments work together with the private sector to deliver infrastructure to support land releases so amenity is maintained in established areas and new communities are viable, reinforce the need for accountability and transparency at every level and not allow funds to sink into the abyss of state government treasuries.

4. keeping the lid on building and site development costs, particularly in the face of the Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme and outbreaks of union activity and ensuring we do not allow the ABCC to be corroded from within.

5. understanding the impacts of immigration and population policy on demand and our demography, most notably the ageing of our population.

“In all of these areas we must have innovation from public and private sector alike - from building and site design to create commercially sustainable and viable models

of affordable accommodation to reform of our sclerotic planning systems,” Mr Morrison said.

"Above all our efforts must have multiple effects across the housing sector that leaven the market to increase supply to the levels needed to meet demand. Otherwise, as is the case with programmes such as the National Rental Affordability Scheme or the Housing Affordability funds - where impact is limited to projects that directly benefit - these efforts will be no more than well intentioned drops in the ocean, impacting only at the margins.

"Our efforts must not become hostage to the politics of confected moral panic that has become characteristic of the Rudd Government's approach to so many issues. Another summit cannot be too far away!

"Instead our approach will be driven by practical economic policies that address the supply challenges in the market. Only this way can we relieve the pressure on the housing system that can ensure social housing resources are made available to those who need them most,” Mr Morrison said.