Call for local government to change

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The property industry says it is up for the challenge to create more connected, affordable and liveable precincts but wants local governments to get on board by explaining the benefits that arise when there are greater housing choices and more amenities.

THE property industry has used the McGowan Government’s stance on housing infill to challenge local governments to explain to residents the benefits of higher densities.

On Friday, April 6 Housing Minister Peter Tinley said the state government was actively seeking opportunities to better use existing infrastructure and innovative technologies and wanted to work with the Property Council of Australia for the social and economic prosperity of Western Australia.

Mr Tinley said the challenge facing everyone, as Perth grew, was to create diverse and affordable housing choices in vibrant and liveable communities.

He said Metronet would play an integral part in driving investment, economic growth and community regeneration across Perth.

“With greater housing density and diversity and improved public transport systems, we can create a more compact and connected city with better places and spaces for people to work, play and call home,’’ he said.

“We have already made much progress, but we need to do more. “Achieving infill in many areas will require a significant shift from ‘business as-usual’ approaches to housing delivery.”

In response Property Council WA executive director Lino Iacomella said local governments must also accept the challenge to shift from ‘business as usual’ approaches to achieve housing diversity.

Mr Iacomella said the property industry was up for the challenge to create more connected, affordable and liveable precincts.

“But local governments also have a key role in explaining to their ratepayers at a much earlier point, what their neighbourhoods will look like and the benefits that arise when there are greater housing choices and more local amenities.

“The property industry understands that the public will only fully accept higher densities if it is shown the bigger picture, including better connections to public transport, more schools and child-care places, green spaces as well as the increased urban vibrancy that comes with more clientele for local shops and cafés,’’ he said.

“The proposed Metronet precincts and the main road connections between stations and suburban activity centres provide the perfect opportunity to make this happen.

“However, local governments need to be more actively involved at an early point to engage local communities with their local planning schemes.

“This will help overcome the ‘business as usual’ situation of communities grappling with developments at the end-point of the development planning process.’’

Mr Tinley said the government’s affordable housing action plan expected to be ready for release in mid-2018 would focus on five key areas including connection between people, place and home as well as real and enduring affordability for those on low-to-moderate incomes.

It would also focus on earlier and more connected housing and support services, creation of diverse precincts that will include options for low-income earners and diversity of options to meet diversity of need.

He said the community would not accept greater density in future developments unless the principles of people, place and home were integrated without compromising the built and natural environment.