Industry leaders optimistic about PRIME MINISTER’S HOUSING INITIATIVE, but questions remain

WORDS: Ocean Road Magazine Editorial Staff PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Housing and development industry leaders have signalled cautious optimism to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s $3.5 billion plan to fix Australia’s housing crisis.

Many have questioned whether there is enough skilled labour and planning reform and to achieve the aims outlined by the PM yesterday to create 200,000 new homes across Australia over five years from mid-2024.

Chris Ferris, co-founder and CEO of Coposit, which offers a savings plan for first home buyers and investors to enable them to get into the market without providing 10 per cent deposits, believes the planning reforms will be a game changer for developers and property investors alike.

“It’s time for government at all levels to look at long term solutions to fix not only the housing supply problem, but more importantly home ownership deficiencies and affordability which is now out of reach of many Australians, particularly young Australians,” said Mr Ferris.

“Extra housing supply will hopefully go some way to alleviating these issues and the Federal Government should be applauded for taking measures which are absolutely necessary for our future standards of living.”

“These reforms could pave the way for streamlined approvals, expansive land releases, and strategic zoning decisions, particularly in the dynamic landscape of medium and high-density housing, with the effect of bringing forward housing supply and putting downward pressure on housing affordability issues.”

RPM Group Queensland Managing Directors, Clinton Trezise and Peter Neale, welcome a federal response to the housing crisis, in particular, anything that helps streamline approvals, zoning, and land-use rules.

Clinton Trezise

“South East Queensland has appropriately zoned, well-located greenfield land. But many areas have lacked the required infrastructure needed to unlock its potential or are still highly constrained by issues that make it unfeasible to develop.,” said Mr Trezise.

“There is a need for realistic, workable solutions that facilitate more supply while maintaining a responsible approach to development.”

“We, along with many in the industry, have identified that this current crisis requires all levels of government and industry to work together for the efficient delivery of a diverse range of housing solutions that tackle both supply and affordability,” said Mr Neale.

“The intent of this housing strategy appears promising, but this is not to say we are without challenges, especially in South East Queensland, where construction costs and labour shortages are at all-time highs, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.”

Peter Neale

Amidst the conversation about delivering construction for housing, Allyce Kluver of Azure Development Group, believes there’s an essential aspect that should not be compromised—the quality of homes.

“We’re pleased with the funding directed towards infrastructure that’s going to make housing happen, this is a key piece in the puzzle of building more homes,” said Mrs Kluver.

“We’re in a pressing situation where the demand for homes is high, and it’s essential that we ramp up the supply, cut out the red tape to speed up the development process, particularly in prime locations equipped with all the necessary conveniences.

“However, this drive to increase housing availability shouldn’t come at the cost of compromising on quality. Buyers shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than well-designed homes that meet their needs and aspirations. Our goal is to strike a balance—delivering more homes while ensuring they are thoughtfully designed and within reach of the everyday buyer.”

“With construction cost and labour shortages affecting our peers in the industry, actually delivering a product to contribute to the housing shortfall remains challenging.”

Ted Cronin, CEO of Queensland-based Orchard Property Group, which develops large housing estates throughout the Southeast, says addressing the current housing shortage requires a multi-faceted approach, and the focus on supply is absolutely crucial.

“Local councils must work hand-in-hand with the State Government to release more land for development. It’s imperative that any newly designated areas are free from restrictive overlays, ensuring that they remain viable and attractive to potential developers,” said Mr Cronin.

“In addition to unlocking this land, it’s essential to pay close attention to the provision of necessary infrastructure. Beyond just transport and schools, we must prioritise the development of sewer and water services to support these new areas efficiently.”

“The State Government, local councils, and service providers need to come together and collaborate to cut the red tape to avoid unnecessary delays and speed up the delivery of housing projects.”

Steven King, Director in Charge of Colliers Gold Coast, described the announcement as a constructive way forward to help alleviate the critical shortage of housing across Australia.

“It’s great to see Government’s at all levels recognising that this critical issue needs to be addressed immediately,” said Mr King.

“The property industry as a whole has been advocating for a solution before the problem becomes critical and we look forward to being able to as an industry, play a part in resolving what is potentially going to be a big problem in the future.”