A+ on affordability, but density, design and energy efficiency focus needed

TUESDAY 9 MAY

The Australian Institute of Architects wholeheartedly welcomes the Commonwealth Government’s housing affordability package released in tonight’s Federal Budget.

National President Ken Maher said the Treasurer had been bold in his approach to tackling what is becoming an increasingly serious issue for Australians, but lamented the missed opportunity for the Government to notch up some straightforward wins in areas of density, design and energy efficiency.

‘We commend the Turnbull Government on the comprehensive package to tackle the worsening challenge of housing affordability in Australia.

‘Critically, the measures announced by the Government tonight reach right across the housing spectrum.

‘This budget looks at ways to improve the housing situation of everyone from our homeless and those needing crisis accommodation, right through to public and social housing, first home buyers, affordable rental accommodation and removing the disincentive for pensioners to downsize.

‘Right around Australia, Australian Institute of Architect members are at the leading edge of designing inspirational housing solutions – from housing the homeless in Sydney, to creating strong new public housing communities in Hobart.

‘The new Commonwealth land release scheme, together with the $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility will create important opportunities to further boost supply.

‘The measures to promote further private sector investment in affordable housing are particularly welcome, as is the Government’s substantial transport infrastructure investment of more than $70 billion to 2022-21, including support for fast rail.

‘Regrettably, however, the Government has not taken this package to the next logical step which is to better manage the quality of the new supply they want to bring online.

‘With tens of thousands of new homes needing to be built every year to keep up with demand, it is vital that we ensure those new residences are energy efficient, that due consideration is given to promoting quality, standardised design principles to address issues of accessibility and to facilitate ageing in place.

‘In our cities and suburbs, continuing to expand ever outwards is not a sustainable option. In renewing their commitment to work with the States and Territories to address issues around planning, zoning and regulations, there must be a collective focus on density.

‘Infill has a vital role to play in the future of our cities. Ensuring this density is done well, integrated with well-designed transport including due consideration of amenity and well-designed public spaces, is the key to achieving successful and enduring city deals.

‘Every state and territory in Australia with the exception of Tasmania has now appointed a Government Architect. With the huge infrastructure and city shaping investments the Turnbull Government has announced tonight, it is imperative that they too look to appoint an Australian Government Architect,’ Maher said.