The 2019-20 ACT Budget will deliver much needed additional staff to support the housing industry in the ACT, but it will come at a cost, says the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
“The housing industry is broadly supportive of the additional staff to support building compliance, licensing and to address the chronic delays in the ACT’s development approval system, but the reality is that home buyers will pay for it through increases in the building levy and development application fees,” said Greg Weller, Executive Director ACT/ Southern NSW.
“It is disappointing that these services are being funded through new levies and charges that will ultimately be passed on to the public when they build a new home.
“The budget papers show that only 39 per cent of development application decisions were made within the statutory timeframe during 2018/19, so the industry and community are entitled to ask what level of service will be guaranteed with these extra staff and extra costs?
“The 2019/20 Budget is providing for revenue of $104 million from land development and $23 million from the lease variation charge, which demonstrates just how much the housing and construction industry contributes to the ACT’s bottom line. It is not unreasonable that there is an expectation that these new roles could be funded without an increase in the building levy and planning application fees.
“The Budget also commits to investing heavily in public housing with an additional $20 million being forecast for each year over the foreword estimates as part of the ACT Housing Strategy, which is a positive for the community.”
“The housing industry also welcomes the investment in the modernisation of the ACT Land Titles system and the future delivery of e-conveyancing, along with improvements to accessing online services through Access Canberra foreshadowed in the Budget.
“The ACT economic credentials do remain strong, with a 1.75 per cent population growth forecast. This points to the need for the housing sector to remain strong and we look forward to working with the Government as they implement these budget measures.”