$1.8bn boost to affordable housing in Queensland

$1.8bn boost to affordable housing in Queensland

16 June 2017

A 10-year housing strategy released by the Queensland Government aims to create more than 5,000 social and affordable homes and 450 construction jobs, reports The Fifth Estate, a newspaper that covers sustainable building issues.

The $1.8 billion plan includes a 5-to-25 per cent inclusionary zoning target on state-owned land, $75 million to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander home ownership, $30 million to reform the housing system, housing and homelessness hubs to improve service delivery, and strengthening of consumer protections for retired people.

“As more and more people choose to make Queensland their home, it is imperative that we act now, with a long-term and sustainable vision, to support and safeguard the housing needs of current and future generations,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

As part of the plan $1.2 billion will be spent renewing the existing social housing property portfolio, and $420 million will go to a housing construction program to boost the supply of social and affordable housing, which will encourage partnerships between community housing providers and the private sector.

A new Housing Partnerships Office will be formed to streamline procurement processes and reduce tendering costs and delivery time-frames.

Opportunities will exist on under-utilised state land ready for immediate construction, development-ready sites put forward by industry and through urban renewal projects.

In the first five years, 2972 social homes and 1034 affordable homes are expected to be delivered across key areas. An Expression of Interest will seek proposals for small, medium and large-scale projects and forecast opportunities for multi-year developments in: Cairns, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Ipswich.

“Our 10-year construction program provides industry with a stable and predictable program of work so they can have certainty,” said Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt.

“This is about best practice procurement, working to match projects to appropriate partners, creating opportunities for small, medium and large businesses.

“Whether you are a small home builder or one of the state’s largest developers there is something in this construction package for you.”

The plan includes responses across the entire housing continuum, from homelessness services to private homeownership.

For example, in the private rental market rental bond loans will help prospective tenants meet bond requirements. The plan also says public housing tenants will be incentivised to enter the private market through new financial products like shared equity loans and rent-to-buy schemes.

The plan also makes reference to creating more energy efficient, sustainable designs for homes, though no mention of how this will be achieved is provided, though new public housing will have to be constructed to liveable housing design standards.

The strategy was welcomed by the Property Council of Australia.

“The strategy acknowledges that the private sector holds the key to delivering the Government’s social and affordable housing objectives,” Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said.

“Partnering with the property industry to achieve housing solutions is a key focus of the strategy, and is the only real solution available to achieve the government’s vision.”

He also welcomed the strategy tackling housing across the continuum from homelessness through to private housing.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni told The Urban Developer that the Queensland Housing Strategy construction program was focussed on partnerships and creating local jobs.

“This strategy is about partnering with the private sector and community housing providers to create genuine affordable housing, something that hasn’t been done at scale in this country in decades.

“Government will use underutilised government land and this new funding to leverage new private and community sector investment in affordable housing.

“And this strategy is a big win for local builders and tradies in the residential sector across the state,” Mr de Brenni said.