The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has commended the new Minister for Housing Michael Sukkar’s focus on boosting affordable housing supply on surplus Commonwealth land.
“Improving housing supply needs to include the delivery of more homes in each part of the housing continuum – that means both public and private housing needs to increase,” HIA’s chief executive of industry policy, Kristin Brookfield, said.
“Thinking strategically about what these [Commonwealth-owned] sites can deliver, either through public housing or subsidised affordable housing, makes great sense.
“Providing a clear and efficient pathway to deliver much-needed housing on these often unique sites is clearly a priority for the minister.”
Ms Brookfield said the new housing minister is “ideally positioned” to address the infrastructure and planning challenges, in partnership with state and local governments, associated with increasing housing supply on Commonwealth-owned sites.
“Taking a leadership role in planning reform and working to improve strategic planning is also a welcome move,” she said.
“HIA has always supported the important role that the federal government can play in guiding planning, infrastructure delivery, land and housing supply, and looks forward to working with the minister to deliver his vision for housing.”
Establishing a housing minister was the first of the HIA’s policy priorities ahead of the 2019 federal election, followed by assisting first home buyers with mortgages, which, through Mr Sukkar’s appointment and the government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, have both been addressed through the Coalition win.
In addition to the new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and the First Home Super Saver Scheme , the Coalition had pledged to address housing affordability by:
- Investing $1 billion in local infrastructure to boost housing supply in partnership with local councils through the National Housing Infrastructure Facility
- Setting up an affordable housing bond aggregator to drive efficiencies and cost savings in the provision of affordable housing by community housing providers
- Releasing suitable Commonwealth land, including defence land, for housing development
- Investing $100 billion in congestion-busting transport infrastructure, putting more affordable housing options within reach for first home buyers, among other measures
Mr Sukkar’s appointment was lauded by many in the housing industry, including Adrian Kelly, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).
“REIA has long advocated for housing being a ministerial responsibility. The property sector is one of the largest sectors in the Australian economy in terms of employment, GDP and investment and has been the driver of economic growth since the decline in investment in the mining sector commenced,” Mr Kelly said.
“This appointment recognises the importance that the property sector plays in the economy as well as in policy, with taxation of property and housing affordability being at the forefront of public policy debate.”
HIA managing director Graham Wolfe was similarly impressed with the new housing minister’s appointment.
“Housing is a national priority, and the appointment of Michael Sukkar as Minister for Housing is recognition of this fact,” Mr Wolfe said.
“A well-housed population is more productive, cohesive and healthy.
“Ensuring timely and cost-effective supply of affordable private housing needs strong coordination and delivery across several federal portfolios, state and local governments and industry.”