Today’s announcement of the National Planning Reform Blueprint and New Home Bonus sets a positive direction for housing policy in Australia: building more homes in the places people want to live. For Canberra, however, signing onto this agreement is just the start. It’s now time for the ACT Government, along with all members of the Legislative Assembly, to show leadership on housing issues by implementing the Missing Middle Canberra zoning reform, which provides a clear pathway to ensuring the ACT achieves its share of the national goal of 1.2 million new well-located homes in 5 years.
Reforming our zoning laws to enable more medium density homes is not only key to ensuring abundant housing supply and reducing Canberra’s emissions. It’s also an economic and fiscal boost for the ACT. Thanks to today’s announcement of the New Homes Bonus, every additional infill home provided will boost the ACT Budget by $15,000, on top of the revenue benefits that come from increased economic activity, and the budget savings that come from reducing demand for expensive new greenfield infrastructure.
The ACT Government needs to act fast to incorporate Missing Middle Canberra zoning reform into the final Territory Plan, to ensure Canberrans don’t miss out on the benefits of more homes, more liveable neighbourhoods, and additional infrastructure funding from the Commonwealth. Now is the time to embrace sensible and broad upzoning of the 80% of Canberra’s residential land on which medium density housing is still banned, along with reforms to reduce costly parking mandates, and increase density around local centres.
For too long, Canberrans have had to bear the costs of a broken planning system that failed to deliver enough homes in our best connected and most expensive neighbourhoods. Today’s National Cabinet agreement lays the groundwork for a better future. It’s now up to policymakers to make the most of this crucial opportunity to create a more liveable, sustainable and affordable Canberra.
About Greater Canberra
Greater Canberra is a community advocacy group committed to affordable and high-quality housing in Canberra. We believe in a future where housing is abundant, and where everyone can enjoy a more sustainable and liveable city. For more information, see https://greatercanberra.org.