The Commonwealth Government’s Housing Affordability Fund (HAF) guidelines launched this morning by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have been welcomed by the Residential Development Council.
Caryn Kakas, executive director of the Residential Development Council, is pleased the HAF’s funding allocation is strongly focussed on achieving systemic cost reductions, and said the guidelines encourage best practice in local government in respect of residential development assessments and planning processes.
“HAF funding has the potential to improve development processes and should have long lasting, long-term benefits and which can achieve cost reductions not only across one development, but also across entire LGAs, regions or whole states if taken on in a cooperative manner,” Ms Kakas said.
On a national average a quarter to a third of the money Australians pay for new homes is made up of taxes and compliance costs associated with producing new housing.
“Asking new home buyers to pay for facilities used by the entire community is grossly unfair, and the HAF will reduce some of this burden,” Ms Kakas said.
“The government has recognised in its announcement that housing affordability in high growth areas would otherwise further diminish, as these areas are those most likely to be faced with perilously high infrastructure charges. In our view, the fund is well targeted against further pricing families out of communities.”
The Residential Development Council also welcomes the HAF guidelines’ support for the fund being used to contribute to major urban renewal projects including the potential for site remediation such as under previous Federal programs.
Ms Kakas said it is important to look at the effect of the HAF over a three to five year time horizon as it is likely the savings will not come about immediately.
However, one of the most significant aspects of the process was the required performance reporting on development outcomes, which has long been missing from state and local government reporting on development assessment timetables.
“Over the long term, the Residential Development Council is very confident the HAF will lead to an overall improvement in housing affordability.
“We will continue to work with the Commonwealth Government on the HAF and other policies that are critical to solving Australia’s housing affordability crisis,” Ms Kakas said.
Caryn Kakas, Executive Director, Residential Development Council on
0404 257 540 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or
Kate Ellis Welsh, PR & Communications Manager, Residential Development Council on 0438 760 206 or email@example.com
Further information on the Commonwealth Government’s HAF guidelines
- Money will be targeted to areas with high demand for new housing, and can be used for both greenfield and infill developments
- Development assessment processes will be sped up to reduce the costs to developers associated with the time taken to approve a development, and ultimately the costs that flow through to the home buyer
- HAF applicants could consider contracts with private companies, including developers, where the prospective outcome is clearly better and guaranteed by the company
- The Fund may be used to provide funding for three types of applications:
Successful funding recipients will be responsible for measuring the performance of their projects against agreed performance indicators and will be responsible for submitting performance information to the Department Applicants must specify how their proposal will reduce the cost of new homes, whether that be all new homes in a local government area or those in a particular development, and how the savings to the home buyer will be measured
- Infrastructure Only where the fund either provides a contribution towards larger scale housing linked infrastructure, or entirely funds smaller scale infrastructure proposals such as connecting infrastructure (water, sewerage and roads) and community infrastructure (parks, cycleways and other facilities)
- Reform Only in which funding is sought to achieve specific reforms, including the adoption of a best practice or the development of leading practice models
- Mixed Reform and Infrastructure Proposals which seek funding for infrastructure but also include an element of reform, in order to increase the level of savings that can be passed on to home buyers