A national audit of federal and state/territory owned land has been announced in response to growing housing affordability concerns.
Federal treasurer Peter Costello said that the government would undertake the audit to determine areas that could be released for new dwelling development.
“It’s essential to identify the land which is available for housing so that our growing population can expand, without putting untoward upward pressure on the price of existing housing stock,” Costello said.
“No audit of this size or scope has been attempted before.”
Costello said that the federal government “recognises that housing affordability is a complex issue”.
“There are many aspects that govern it on both the demand and the supply side,” Costello said.
“In order to keep housing affordable to young Australians, we need to maintain a strongly growing economy, robust employment growth, rising real wages and keep interest rates low.”
Graham Joyce, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), said the announcement is “a positive contribution to the housing affordability debate”.
“An undersupply of housing stock has contributed to rising prices,” Joyce said.
“The release of new, more affordable land is an essential component in the improvement of affordability. However, there are a number of other issues which must also be addressed strategically, including the inequitable property tax burden.”
Joyce said that the federal government has the opportunity to take a “leadership role” by appointing a Federal Housing Minister to take the initiative to address the housing affordability issue.
“Housing affordability requires a whole-of-government approach,” Joyce said.