1. Improve access to housing
1.1. Policy: The Science Party proposes the following policies to improve housing affordability and increase service provision:
- Loosen height and density restrictions on urban infill areas with high demand. Former industrial estates are perfect locations for accommodating additional population without adversely affecting existing residents.
- Increased land releases. New land releases will be encouraged to increase density, while also increasing public open space such as parks.
- Encourage density in greenfield developments by increasing local service provision, such as train services, and allowing mixed zone developments.
- Decrease regulation not related to safety to allow a greater mix of housing styles and sizes to ensure that people can find housing that is best suited to their needs.
- Decrease regulation to encourage mixed use developments where office space, small to medium retail and residential buildings are close to one another or are found in the same building.
- Removal of the distortionary tax treatment of the housing market. Negative gearing and the capital gains concession on owner occupied dwellings should be abolished for all new housing and gradually phased out for all existing housing. We also seek to replace stamp duty; see our tax policy for more details.
- Following introduction of the above policies, reform public housing policy to ensure that it is available to those who need it most, while reducing costs by making the transition away from public housing easier for those who are capable of doing so.
1.2. Discussion: Housing is extremely unaffordable across the major cities of Australia. The ninth annual Demographia survey ranks Australia as being the 2nd most unaffordable in terms of years of income needed to purchase a home.
While very high prices and high rents are great news for those who own two or more houses, for the majority of people this situation is not ideal. We spend too much of our income on our housing considering that we are one of the least densely populated countries in the world. The fruits of a healthy economy and hard working population should not be completely eaten up by mortgage and rental payments.
The Science Party has a plan to create a new city which will increase the supply of housing, making housing much more affordable both inside the city and eventually in the other major cities. However, we acknowledge that this city will take some time to have a big effect on housing affordability around the country. Hence we need to act to repair the housing situation in the existing cities and towns in the country.
The Science Party believes that the cost of housing is distorted by several factors:
- Preferential treatment of investments in housing through the tax system (that is housing that is bought not for personal use, but a second, third or twentieth property that is used purely for investment gains)
- NIMBYism (Not In My BackYard), which leads to inefficient redevelopments of older properties
- Restrictive building codes that prevents a variety of housing styles from being developed.
- A lack of consideration in developments for affordable housing through over-regulation of housing quality. There are many regulations that prevent the construction of housing that is affordable for a wide range of people. These regulations mandate minimum standards which do not add to the safety of the building. Many of these regulations mandate building styles that most people would consider an optional luxury in older buildings. These regulations reduce the supply of affordable housing by mandating luxury in new buildings where it is unnecessary.
The Science Party considers the zoning of inner city areas to be an issue not only of local importance, but of citywide and national importance. Cities that are well designed ensure access to employment, improve health, and reduce crime for the population all while allowing the economy to function efficiently.