Housing Affordability

Housing affordability in the ACT – West Belconnen

Q Shelter, along with CHPs for Qld and LGAQ, hosted a forum to exchange learnings on the planning and policy reforms required to address  housing affordability in our communities.  Senior figures from the ACT government, community housing and development sectors shared their experiences in delivering an Affordable Housing Action Plan in the ACT; the vision for the major new housing development of West Belconnen on the NSW/ACT border.  We also heard a presentation from Economic Development Queensland about the many successes of the Queensland Government’s approach to designing for housing diversity as one approach to meeting the challenge of housing affordability.  Speakers were joined by Damien Walker, Deputy Director General of the Queensland Department of Housing, for a panel discussion with questions from a mixed audience including planners, financiers, community housing organisations and government stakeholders.

Housing Affordability Resources

  1. ACT Government Housing Affordability Action Plan
  2. Riverview Project Overview
    a) Part 1
    b) Part 2
  3. Compact Housing
    a) Part 1
    b) Part 2

Highlights from Saul Eslake Seminar

Having analysed the issues, Saul presented his proposed elements of what could/should be a bipartisan agenda for improving housing affordability:

  • Abandon policies which serve only to inflate demand, including cash grants to and stamp duty exemptions for first time buyers, and preferential tax treatment for investors.
  • Redirect funds thereby saved (or revenue raised) towards programs that increase the supply of housing.
  • Reform State tax systems to encourage more efficient use of land by replacing stamp duty on land transfers with a broad-based land tax (including on owner-occupied properties), with transitional provisions to avoid ‘double taxation’ of recently-acquired land.
  • Include the value of owner-occupied housing above location-specific thresholds in the assets test for the age pension.
  • Provide greater support for the expansion of the community housing sector.
  • Restructure land tax provisions for large-scale investors in rental housing.
  • Revisit current models for financing the provision of suburban infrastructure and services in ‘greenfield’ housing estates – with less ‘upfront’ charging and greater recovery through municipal rates.
  • Reduce the cost, complexity and uncertainty associated with ‘infill’ developments in established areas by providing greater uniformity and clarity in planning rules, and fewer opportunities for frivolous or vexatious objections.
  • Take a more ‘holistic’ view of urban infrastructure investment – especially in transport – and consider the use of ‘betterment levies’ as one way of partially funding such investments.

Click here to view Saul Eslake’s presentation on Affordable Housing.