That is a cracker of a submission.

I notice there is a gravy-train of "community housing" providers lining up to support the HAFF - presumably on the basis that they will get grants that they might not get if money was spent directly on public housing. I give side-eye to anyone talking about "community" or "social" housing, because the terms are usually deployed deliberately to avoid mentioning public housing - the actual solution.

I once spent a night volunteering with the Property Industry Foundation. For all their talk of "wrap-around support" and "building life skills", they only provide temporary accommodation at best, and ultimately aim to make their "clients" productive enough to afford market rent extraction rates. All of which suits the property industry just fine, while they go sailing for a "charity regatta" (actual event). They NEVER talk about public housing or any form of below market permanent housing. That's not profitable for their sponsors. A charity that truly cares would campaign for policies that make their charity no longer necessary, not this neoliberal self-improvement claptrap.

In a quick scan of the submissions, surprise! The Property Council wants an "industry reference group" (so they can capture the "independent" board). Surprise! AHURI supports more research. Surprise! The Community Housing Industry Association wants to be put on equal footing with states and territories when it comes to grants ("[optimising] the outcomes" with "robust tendering"), presumably so they have a chance to forestall any actual public housing by undercutting it (based on capex only...).

The whole thing is a bucket of vomit, and should be tipped in the toilet.

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Mar 15, 2023Liked by Cameron Murray

Cameron, I appreciate this is only one small part of your paper, but in the interests of accuracy, on what are you basing your statement about there being 20 years worth of planning approvals in Queensland? Having worked in Queensland land supply and development monitoring for many years, I do not understand how you could arrive at that statement. For example, the most recent published SEQ Land Supply and Development Monitoring Report (2021) identified 4.4 year of approved but uncompleted residential lots (subdivision approvals) and 9.1 years of approved but unconstructed multiple dwelling approvals (without considering how many of these are likely to be feasible and proceed - historically a significant proportion of the latter in particular tend to fall over or be replaced by other approvals for the same land before development actually proceeds).

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One can argue that the planning system doesn't increase the cost of housing under the parameters that the planning regime creates. However, change the parameters and see what happens. For instance:

The cost of housing can be radically reduced by eliminating the up front cost of a parcel of land that carries a title, the product of a subdivision.

Simply allow the construction of homes on land zoned rural and watch a flood of new developers into the housing market. Secondly, let the owners of the land build houses that are appropriately sized. In addition allow the owners of a mobile house to rent a plot on which to locate that house, as in a caravan park.

Getting an automobile to the front door of every house costs a lot in infrastructure and reduces the living amenity by creating an urban heat sink that becomes more severe as lot size is reduced and vegetation is lost. The surroundings of the house become from a child's point of view 'unplayable' and from an adults point of view, distinctly unsocial.

What could a different arrangement look like?

It’s currently unlawful to locate a fixed form of shelter for permanent use other than in a zone dedicated to residential use. Developers release land at a rate calculated to maintain profitability and commonly insist on minimum floor areas to ‘maintain standards.’ This, and the taxation regime promote overinvestment and price escalation.

The alternative is to provide shelter on rural land via a site fee. Freed of a mortgage, mobility is enhanced enabling a worker to realise his potential while improving national productivity.

Village development that integrates employment, commerce, and recreation is highly beneficial. Rendering the surroundings of the house a safe place for children and gardeners by keeping automobiles at an appropriate distance from the home will reduce the urban heat sink effect, promote intergenerational support, assist with child reading and enable children to find role models. We should invest in providing space for hobby, play, gardens, and interactive spaces in conjunction with homes rather than roads, pavements, and fences.

Building costs can be reduced by constructing appropriately sized units to be transported in flat packed or preassembled form, facilitating the temporary use of scarce land, allowing an easier transition to larger or smaller forms to suit changing life circumstances including the size of the family unit. Increasing the span of the building will reduce site costs, enable the retention of vegetation, allowing shelter to be more easily accommodated in natural landscapes affording shade, shelter and cooler air due to enhanced leaf transpiration.

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Good luck Cameron you'll need the fortitude of Don Quixote. Maybe ask the senators if they are so willing to spend $368 billion or $11 billion a year for 33 years to prop the US defense industry for a technology which may be rendered obsolete by 2050, what's so hard about having a meaningful go at fixing our social housing crisis for a third of the subs spend? Let me guess the answer

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Buying houses and then giving them to the people doesn't automatically get new ones built. It will, if supply constraints aren't the problem.

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