Housing = land = tourism

In Community, Featured Home Page News, National Headlines

Housing crises all over the country can be solved with subdivisions.

Every state in Australia is suffering the same crisis in housing – prices through the rooves as the supply chain is clogged with well-paid tradies and project managers adding 20% every step of the way.

The answer to supply though isn’t unlocking contested land like national parks – the answer is subdividing existing land, for free.

All over Australia, Mum and Dad landowners are sitting on prime land that they don’t know how to subdivide.

Consultants tell The Tourism News that the subdivision process could be simplified by councils.

Most councils, including tourism-heavy councils, are paid approximately $50k for what is called (in NSW) a Section 94 Certificate, which is essentially a Development Application involving plans for services etc. i.e. how the backend of a battleaxe block would comply with water and electricity supply.

Consultants tell The Tourism News that the avatar Doris Johnson – who is sitting on $300k of extra lawn that she has no idea how to sell off – would only need to show a bank a contract of sale with a real estate pending a S96 approval to get $50k for the Development Application, say $30k for the consultants, and then the remaining $220k plus interest on the sale of the land.

$220k is a lot more than most pensioners have to spare.

Small affordable single housing dwelling approvals could double across Australia in just one year if councils were to think outside the box and develop an ‘Easy Excess Land Sale’ product with banks.

With hundreds of thousands of new blocks then available across the country, Australia’s housing crisis would be solved – God knows we’ve got enough land.

Veronica Hope

from nt news 29.08.2021

SINCE 2016 the Northern Territory government has had a commitment to develop the community housing sector and transfer 750 homes to providers.

Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and much more in public service resources, after five years there has been zero progress.

The lack of housing supply and affordability in the Territory is at crisis point and this failure is indicative of an internally focused bureaucracy that is paralysed by a lack of expertise and an unwillingness to look beyond its own nose for solutions.

A successful community housing sector involves non-government organisations providing social housing and affordable rentals at below market rates to people on lower incomes.

This is routinely achieved across Australia through the transfer of public housing to community housing providers.

It is not a difficult concept and there are well over 100,000 community housing dwellings across Australia worth over $10bn.

The advantages are well-established and include the flow of significant additional rent revenue, through Commonwealth Rent Assistance, as well as access to very low interest finance to stimulate the construction of new housing.

Community housing will save the government money, increase funding to the Northern Territory, grow housing supply, stimulate construction, create jobs, and provide better housing options.

What’s not to like?

SINCE 2016 the Northern Territory government has had a commitment to develop the community housing sector and transfer 750 homes to providers.

Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and much more in public service resources, after five years there has been zero progress.

The lack of housing supply and affordability in the Territory is at crisis point and this failure is indicative of an internally focused bureaucracy that is paralysed by a lack of expertise and an unwillingness to look beyond its own nose for solutions.

A successful community housing sector involves non-government organisations providing social housing and affordable rentals at below market rates to people on lower incomes.

This is routinely achieved across Australia through the transfer of public housing to community housing providers.

It is not a difficult concept and there are well over 100,000 community housing dwellings across Australia worth over $10bn.

The advantages are well-established and include the flow of significant additional rent revenue, through Commonwealth Rent Assistance, as well as access to very low interest finance to stimulate the construction of new housing.

Tasmanian millers are blaming the state government’s focus on subsidised wood for timber shortages during Australia’s current housing construction boom. The industry is now pushing for more local timber manufacturing but there are fears big
Community housing will save the government money, increase funding to the Northern Territory, grow housing supply, stimulate construction, create jobs, and provide better housing options.

What’s not to like?

Despite the obvious benefits and the simple task of making it happen, we haven’t moved a step forward in almost five years.

Instead, we’ve seen an endless stream of public consultation, expensive external modelling, failed tenders, and broken promises.

In 2016, the Department of Housing and Community Development commenced work on a community housing strategy to grow the community housing sector and transfer an initial 750 dwellings to providers in urban areas.

In August 2017, the Department issued a consultation paper and then awarded a $145,000 contract to KPMG to provide modelling, policy, and implementation advice to inform the development of a Northern Territory Urban Community Housing Strategy.

This very expensive report concluded that in all scenarios there would be a positive benefit to the Northern Territory government of up to $9.25m per year.

Since that time, in November 2017, the Department issued a tender for the redevelopment and management of public housing sites in Darwin, Palmerston and Alice Springs including $10m of cash grants towards the projects.

None of those tenders were awarded and the $10m was absorbed back into Departmental resources.

In 2019, the Department awarded another $218,000 contract to KPMG to develop an urban housing strategy which was completed in 2020 and included working with non-government housing providers to develop a model for community housing.

This work then completely stalled until March this year when the Department released a much awaited and so-called community housing blueprint. This turned out not to be a blueprint at all but just another discussion paper.

In recent weeks, the Department advertised yet another tender to assess the economic viability of delivery options and pilot sites.

This is now at the point of farcical parody, not unlike an episode of Utopia, and will waste even more money and delay what is a tried and tested initiative that will have large benefits for the government and community.

Community housing providers know what is required to get this moving, they have put forward solution after solution, and have been waiting five years for the government to fire the starter gun.

The government should step in and cancel this pointless tender and get on with the doing because in our current housing crisis anything would be better than nothing.

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