The Science Party, known as the Future Party during the 2015 NSW election, endorsed the following policies:
Loosen height and density restrictions on urban infill areas with high demand
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.
Encourage density in greenfield developments
Encourage density in greenfield developments. Provide new land releases with appropriate mass transit and put minimum density and open space requirements around stations to make efficient use of land and decrease the strain on the road system. Encourage local business and decrease transport requirements by creating mixed zone developments which will allow, for example, office space, restaurants and housing to coexist.
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. Deregulation will also 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.
Remove stamp duty, existing land taxes, and payroll taxes and replace with a broad-based land tax
Remove stamp duty, existing land taxes, and payroll taxes and replace with a broad-based land tax, to fund infrastructure improvements that benefit landowners and the state as a whole. Councils will be partially funded at a flat proportion of the land tax collected, however the councils will be allowed to charge an additional per person or per service charge for activities such as garbage collection. The tax would be levied quarterly for investment properties, and owner-occupiers would have the option of either quarterly or time-of-sale payment. The federal party intends to remove of the distortionary tax treatment of the housing market through the removal of capital gains concession on owner occupied dwellings. This change will be implemented immediately for all new land divisions and gradually phased in for currently owned lands.
Discussion of the specifics of the Land Tax policy can be found here.
Reform public housing policy
Following introduction of the above policies, reform public housing policy to ensure that it is available to those who need it most, especially those with short-term emergency needs and those with complex personal situations, while reducing costs by making the transition away from public housing easier for those who are capable of doing so.
Housing is extremely unaffordable in the major centres of NSW, particularly in the capital, Sydney. 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 given 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 Future Party has a plan to create a new city (‘Turing’) within NSW, which will increase the supply of housing, making housing much more affordable both inside Turing and eventually in the other major centres, like Sydney. However, we acknowledge that this new city will take some time to build sufficient political support for, and then, once implemented, to have a big effect on housing affordability in NSW. Hence we need to employ other policies as well to repair the housing situation in the existing cities and towns throughout NSW.
The Future Party believes that the cost of housing in NSW 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 prevent 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 Future Party would, however, support regulations that increase energy and water efficiency of buildings and that are cost effective over the lifetime of the property, thereby resulting in no overall reduction in affordability.
The Future 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.