by UDIA WA President – Nick Allingame www.udiawa.com.au/
UDIA recently launched its 2019 policy priorities document ‘Developing Great Places to Live, Work and Prosper’, with a particular focus on improving housing affordability and providing greater housing choice in every suburb.
The document outlines recommended actions for government across six areas, including housing affordability, streamlining approvals systems, housing choice, infrastructure investment, liveability and environmental outcomes.
Housing affordability remains a significant challenge in Western Australia despite recent declines in the average price of housing. Homeowners remain out of reach for many on low to moderate incomes and this is an issue that must be addressed.
One of the key aspects of tackling housing affordability is providing a range of housing options throughout the metropolitan area so we are offering people options close to public transport links, services and amenities.
Some of the immediate actions in terms of affordability we have outlined for government include increasing the threshold for Keystart loans by 25% so more people can access this important service, facilitating more ‘build-to-rent’ projects and incorporating an affordability impact statement into all relevant cabinet decisions to ensure cost impacts on consumers are minimised and addressed when making new policy.
In the longer term, we would also like to see the abolishment of stamp duty and the introduction of a fairer and more equitable broad-based land tax system to enable more people, such as downsizers, to transition to more appropriate housing.
In terms of creating more housing choice, UDIA has requested the government encourage investment in new housing supply and rental stock by using appropriate housing taxation policies.
A public education campaign around the benefits of increasing housing choice in every suburb, including infill locations, is also needed to bring the community on board with increased density in appropriate areas.
A clear policy framework to deliver quality medium density housing products is also required. That is why UDIA is advocating for the introduction of a medium density housing code, which is part of the next stage of Design WA.
Looking at the longer term future of Perth as a more liveable city, UDIA has been leading the call for a clearer ‘brand Perth’ that will attract people to the state and support the development of our economy.
We would also like to see incentives for local governments to develop and achieve housing strategy density targets.
These are just a taste of the range of actions UDIA has suggested the government needs to take to ensure we are working together to achieve smart, sustainable and liveable communities into the future.
UDIA – the Urban Development Institute of Australia