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Planning laws destroy housing affordability

Zoning restrictions, height constraints, floor space ratio limits and a myriad other planning obstacles affect housing supply and housing affordability.

Simply adding affordability to the stated objectives of state, territory and regional planning laws would go a long way in positioning the issue at every instance where planning decisions are made.

• Remove, or at least reduce considerably, government infrastructure costs.

Infrastructure fees, levies, charges and taxes are all input costs that inevitably flow through to the home buyer, usually with added costs due to holding charges and the unfortunate fact that some taxes are paid on taxes already charged.

It’s mind-blowing, and it destroys housing affordability.

State/territory governments charge them, as do many of their utilities, agencies and councils.

Often these costs help fund infrastructure that is shared by the broader community, yet they are charged to the individual home buyer.

All three levels of government need to reconcile the cost of layers of infrastructure charges on new homes.

• Reduce the time and cost of planning assessments.

When a developer, builder, designer or owner submits an application, they wait.

They’re not sure what’s happening to their application.

It takes too long and costs too much. It’s time the process was reformed, especially for low-scale, low-risk projects.

Applications for detached, semi-detached and other low-density housing should be open to competition through private assessment and certification.

Using standardised transparent codes, private planning professionals would assess smaller-scale projects quickly and efficiently, freeing council planners to focus on major projects and strategic planning matters.

Graham Wolfe is chief executive of Housing Industry Association

Written by Graham Wolfe

Graham Wolfe

Graham Wolfe is chief executive of Housing Industry Association.

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