Urban Taskforce | Media Releases
COAG disappoints on planning reform and housing affordability
19 August 2011
The Urban Taskforce today said the Council of Australian Governments has failed to take any serious action in relation to the Productivity Commission report on Zoning and Development Assessments it commissioned in 2010, which was finalised in May this year.
The COAGs communiquÃ© today merely notes that each State and Territory is continuing to improve significantly its statutory planning systems.
The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said this was nonsense, and that some state planning systems were getting worse, not better.
Australias housing shortfall is at 200,000 homes, with a projection for it to grow to 308,000 by 2014, Mr Gadiel said.
The Productivity Commissions report identified key leading practices which could, if adopted across the nation, dramatically improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the state planning systems.
They advocated broad and simplified development rules, more rational and transparent rules for infrastructure levies and eliminating impacts on the viability of existing businesses as a town planning consideration.
There is no sign that state governments have taken any note of the Productivity Commissions report, and clearly, the Commonwealth hasnt insisted that they should, Mr Gadiel said.
Mr Gadiel COAGs statement that work [is] already under way [on] ... housing supply and affordability reform seems to overlook that almost nothing COAG previously promised has been achieved.
Key reports proposing reforms to Australias housing bottlenecks have not been completed - or at least have been kept secret, Mr Gadiel said.
In April last year, the Council of Australian Governments tasked a Housing Supply and Affordability Reform Working Party to report back to the Council by mid-2010 on:
¢ the potential to reform land aggregation, zoning and planning processes;
¢ nationally consistent principles for housing development infrastructure charges;
¢ the merits of measures to ensure greater consistency across jurisdictions, including local governments planning approval processes, in the application of building regulations; and
¢ extending the land audit work to examine ˜underutilised land and to examine private holdings of large parcels of land.
Mr Gadiel said that these reports are now overdue, but havent seen the light of day.
Every day that passes is another day that these key reports - if they even exist - gather dust, Mr Gadiel said.
Mr Gadiel said the April 2010 COAG meeting set out a very clear road map for reform.
"The requirement to start producing solid reform proposals by mid-June 2010 was intended to spur on officials to get on with this urgent work.
Mr Gadiel said the new national reform agenda on environmental regulation was welcome, but queried whether it would be as successful as the reform program on housing affordability.
Forgive me for being cynical, but if something as important as housing affordability has been buried, what hope to we have for improving environmental regulation?
The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.