Case study 1: Procedure reforms increase housing affordability in south-east Queensland
Housing construction site. (Arthur Mostead)
Among the biggest challenges presented by a rapidly growing population is supply of affordable housing. This has been highlighted in south-east Queensland where the population has grown at a faster rate than all but one of Australia’s mainland capital city metropolitan areas. In 2008 more than two-thirds of Queensland’s population resided in south-east Queensland.
While many things influence housing affordability, the efficiency of the development approval process is a key factor. The Australian Government and the Council of Mayors South-east Queensland have been working together to tackle this issue through the Target 5 Days project, which aims to deliver approvals for low-risk residential developments within five days.
Target 5 Days is a $3.5 million Housing Affordability Fund reform project that aims to end planning delays for developers. By cutting the time it takes to get planning approvals for new homes, Target 5 Days will improve both housing affordability and supply. Specifically, the project aims to:
- reduce assessment timeframes for 95 per cent of residential development applications through application process reform
- achieve a 75 per cent reduction in approval timeframes for residential developments (including a five day turnaround for low-risk applications)
- implement consistent development assessment processes across participating councils in south-east Queensland (Brisbane), the Gold Coast, Logan, Lockyer Valley, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.
Since it started in 2009 the project has achieved significant results. For example some of the early adopting councils have already reduced the assessment timeframes for more than 90 per cent of their residential applications, including a five day turnaround for low-risk, compliant applications. Toowoomba City Council are exceeding expectations, with an average turnaround of just over two days for development assessment applications.
Local governments and the residential development sector will also benefit from faster assessments through improved efficiencies, reduced holding costs, lower financing requirements and greater transparency in planning decision-making.
These reforms have greatly reduced approval times and are estimated to help approximately 16 000 home buyers each year. All newly constructed homes inAustralia’s highest growth areas will achieve a projected saving of around $4 000, providing an ongoing total benefit of up to $64 million annually.
Back to top