Page 1401 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.14): I would like to join with my colleague Mr Hargreaves in indicating the government’s opposition to this bill, and add a couple of comments. The issue of inclusionary zoning, as it is often known—or a requirement for a percentage of units or dwellings in any development to be included for affordable housing—is one that has been debated in the territory for a number of years. Indeed that was the subject of very detailed work by the government’s housing affordability task force, which reported on this issue during the term of the last Assembly.
The approach advocated by Dr Foskey has, as Mr Hargreaves has outlined, a range of flaws. Predominantly, I think those flaws are such that they work against the very intent of the legislation as Dr Foskey has argued it—that is that the cost of providing affordable housing being borne by the developer is simply passed onto other housing owners, or to renters, either through the increased sale price of other apartments in the development where the four per cent would be applied or, alternatively, ultimately passed on to renters in that marketplace. Whilst the intent of the legislation is very important, the impact of this would, in the government’s view, be quite the reverse.
Aside from that, there is a range of other more practical measures that need to be considered. The government also does not support this legislation because it involves amendment to the Land Act in a way that further complicates the way the Land Act has to be administered. The government’s focus is on simplifying and streamlining the Land Act, rather than on further complicating it in terms of its day-to-day operation.
For example, there is no clear mechanism proposed in the legislation, from what I can see, on who should make the relevant decision about which units in a development are to be for affordable housing purposes, what size those units should be, where they should be located and whether they can be transferred onto further clients who need affordable housing once the existing client is no longer in that dwelling.
The practicalities of identifying what is affordable, and identifying where those affordable units should be, have not been spelt out in Dr Foskey’s legislation. For example, would it be legitimate, as part of this exercise, were it to go ahead, for a developer to simply offer up all of the units on the ground floor facing south in an apartment development? Would it be legitimate for those which are the smallest and least suitable for the government’s or the affordable housing provider’s housing stock to be offered up by the developer? Those are issues that could attract significant discussions and negotiations over the approval of a development and would ultimately delay the provision of a whole development of housing or dwellings onto the market.
I note that only one jurisdiction in Australia has now implemented this move at a state level—and that is the South Australian government. I understand that these provisions came into effect very recently—only in the past week or so. Similar concerns have been raised about the impact on affordability and also on the difficulty of administering such a scheme.
I believe that the government’s approach is the appropriate one. It is one that targets mechanisms to those individuals in our community who need assistance in getting greater access to housing at a more affordable price. The moderate income land ballot