The Property Council of Australia (PCA) has voiced its support for the NSW state government’s plan to amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act) to streamline the approval process for new housing projects, but has called for the reforms to go further in order to increase supply and reduce prices.

PCA NSW Executive Director, Jane Fitzgerald, stated:

“The proposed amendments to the EPA Act will improve the NSW planning system so that better strategic planning objectives are achieved and more houses can be built”.

‘However, the reforms should include the fast-tracking of development proposals that comply with set criteria or standards (“code assessable development”), which will reduce red tape and costs in the system.’

Ms. Fitzgerald expressed concern over the cost of housing in NSW, stating that homeownership was becoming unaffordable for the next generation, and that this would require more comprehensive reforms:

“In NSW, we simply need more homes built, more quickly because homeownership is becoming elusive for a whole generation.”

“We need a planning system in NSW which delivers housing to make ownership accessible again. We need a better, cheaper, faster NSW planning system to make that happen.”

“According to the Greater Sydney Commission we need to build an extra 725,000 dwellings over the next 20 years – to reach this figure we need urgent changes made to the planning system so that we can turbo charge supply.”

“When it comes to building the homes NSW needs, the property industry needs clarity and certainty on who makes planning decisions so homes can be built more quickly without the cost of delays adding to the final price of a home – we strongly welcome the changes that will address this.”

The IPA’s Darcy Allen wrote in 2015:

“As Australian cities face population constraints – especially with the geographical make-up of Sydney – developers must be left to innovate and discover new ways to increase population density.”

“The answer to an increasing population is not to restrict the number of houses in the CBD and hope for a greater urban sprawl. It is to allow the market to develop new ways of utilising existing space; free from government prescriptions.”

And as the IPA has stated in the past:

“Planning restrictions mean a suppression of the market forces that normally encourage new supply in response to higher demand.”

‘The real task for governments is to devise ways of phasing out land regulations that are making houses unaffordable to new home owners.’

Australia’s property market has been profoundly distorted by state government planning restrictions, and the IPA calls on governments to cut and streamline housing regulations to ensure that homeownership will be affordable and accessible to future generations.

By Michael Husek