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Qld unveils $2.9bn housing plan

A new investment fund to increase housing supply, and a focus on social housing has been unveiled by the state government.

The Queensland government has unveiled a $2.9 billion housing action plan to help address the supply issue and increase social housing and homelessness support.

Ahead of tomorrow’s (21 June) release of its state budget for 2022, the Palaszczuk government has announced that it will be investing $2.9 billion to “fast-track housing delivery” as part of its new Queensland Housing Strategy Action Plan 2021-2025.

The state government is set to invest $1.9 billion over four years to boost housing supply and increase housing and homelessness support across Queensland. 

This includes:

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  • $1.813 billion over four years to increase the supply of social housing and upgrade the existing social housing property portfolio (including $60 million to fast-track immediate social housing projects and initiatives and prepare a pipeline of work for future years and $160 million of anticipated returns from the Queensland Government Housing Investment Fund)
  • $94.9 million to support the housing and homelessness service system and deliver better outcomes for Queenslanders, including $20 million to expand domestic and family violence support services; $20 million for homelessness initiatives including through headleases and crisis housing and supports; and $54.9 million to fund essential continuing services delivered through the First Housing Action Plan 2017-2020.

It will also create a new $1 billion Housing Investment Fund to drive new supply to support current and future housing need”.

It is believed to be the government’s largest concentrated investment in social housing in Queensland’s history and aims to increase the supply of social and affordable housing by almost 10,000 over the life of the strategy, including 7,400 new builds over the next four years under the Queensland Housing Investment Growth Initiative (QHIGI).

The Queensland Housing Strategy Action Plan 2021-2025 also includes an ongoing commitment to deliver essential services to Queenslanders, including essential services for people experiencing homelessness, women and families experiencing domestic and family violence, and dedicated responses for vulnerable young people.

Speaking of the housing focus, the state’s Minister for Communities and Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts, Leeanne Enoch, commented: “We know the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as interstate migration are adding more pressure to the housing market, and this is making it harder for people to find a home, especially vulnerable Queenslanders who are experiencing financial stress.

“That is why we are investing $1.9 billion over four years to increase social housing stock and get more vulnerable Queenslanders into homes quicker.

“To support this, we are establishing a new $1 billion Housing Investment Fund, the returns from which will drive new supply to support current and future housing need.”

The minister added that the state government would look to “fast-track projects and initiatives that will increase the supply of social housing, seek proposals to develop underutilised state land, and deliver mixed-use developments”.

Ms Enoch continued: “Our government also recognises the importance of supporting vulnerable people to access housing options and stay in their homes, including through integrated mobile or onsite support services, and this framework is also outlined in the Action Plan.

“The funds will also be used to ready government land for projects, preliminary works on identified sites and scoping and feasibility studies to get more Queenslanders into stable accommodation faster.”

As well as addressing housing supply, the Queensland government has been urged to consider changing stamp duty in its upcoming budget to also help address housing affordability concerns.

RSM partner and indirect tax specialist Sam Mohammad noted that some state governments, such as the NSW government, were looking to replace stamp duty with an annual land tax, which he said should be considered by the Queensland state government in its upcoming budget.

Mr Mohammad said: “Despite the Queensland state budget also due to be handed down next week, potential stamp duty reform has yet to form part of the discussion for Queensland’s future economic prosperity.”

He noted that Brisbane’s median house price recently surpassed the $1 million milestone (according to the REIQ).

“As property prices rise, the average Queensland resident would be paying more stamp duty than ever before, particularly since Queensland’s top marginal stamp duty rate of 5.75 per cent is one of the highest in the country,” he continued.

“Resonating strongly with most tax experts, first home buyers and industry groups, the alternative system of land tax could make home ownership more accessible, support household mobility and better facilitate economic growth and prosperity for Queensland.

“The NSW Government’s proposal is the first real attempt by a state government to implement the (2010) Henry Tax Review’s recommendation of a broader land tax to replace stamp duty on property transfers. 

“While the proposed shift to an annual land tax is likely to result in a loss of direct revenue – with some estimates suggesting a 20 per cent reduction in annual revenue collected – the expectation is that the productivity gains and economic growth will more than compensate for the loss of revenue.” 

[Related: Qld invests $741m to help rebuild flood-impacted homes]

Qld unveils $2.9bn housing plan
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