Category Archives: Infrastructure

JOHN AUSTEN. Where to for Commonwealth infrastructure policy?

Legend has it that Charlton Heston flashed a Rolex wristwatch during a chariot race in the 1959 Ben Hur movie. Some recent Prime Ministerial comments could be considered flashes of a policy Rolex in an infrastructure discussion fitted to the … Continue reading

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 JIM COOMBS. Public Goods

Before the advent of the “free enterprise market economy” model’s dominance of economic thinking, there was a distinction made between private and public goods.  The idea was that some things had to be provided for a healthy, well-ordered society: such … Continue reading

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SAUL ESLAKE. Housing affordability and the 2017-18 Budget: a missed opportunity

Housing affordability was to be a key focus of the Government in this year’s federal budget, according to the ‘nods and winks’ that traditionally precede the Treasurer’s budget speech. A journalist who has often been privy to the thinking of … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. Good debt, bad debt: Poor infrastructure choices, no reform – and Lee Kuan Yew

In the Fairness, Opportunity, Security policy series and the resulting book, Dr Michael Keating AC and I wrote of Australia’s out-of-control transport infrastructure spending that: ‘It is scandalous that this investment escapes proper scrutiny, while at the same time the … Continue reading

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IAN MCAULEY. The budget – still tough on the young

The Commonwealth’s budget has a Keynesian boost for a sluggish economy, and is based on an optimistic, or even heroic, assumption that economic growth will deliver a fiscal surplus within a few years. We have heard similar claims from treasurers, … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. The 2017 Budget – A welcome change in direction. Part 2 of 2

Budget repair was never going to be easy. That is one reason why it has taken so long with quite a few false starts. While some of the individual decisions in this Budget are debateable, overall the quality of the … Continue reading

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LIONEL ORCHARD. Housing Policy: a social democratic response

The missing element in current debates about Australian housing policy is consideration of the social democratic case for building a genuine mixed economy in the housing system respecting the different purposes of the sectors involved – public, private and household. … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. HAL PAWSON. Can Institutional Funding be Channelled into Rental Housing?

Channelling institutional finance into affordable rental housing has long been a ‘holy grail’ urban policy aspiration. Recent developments suggest that this may be edging towards reality.  

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Making Housing Affordable Series. ROB KOCZKAR. How institutional investment could help housing affordability

Competition between first home buyers and investors is dominating the discussion about housing affordability, but it’s what’s happening a few rungs down the property ladder that is perhaps the greatest cause for concern – the challenges for people trying to … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. JACK DE GROOT. Homelessness – the potential to implement a widespread housing first policy

Having a roof over one’s head, a place to call home, is a fundamental right for every individual. Until all levels of government collaborate with institutional investors and the not-for-profit sector to provide more affordable housing and accessible services, housing … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. MICHAEL PERUSCO. Revitalising social and affordable housing

The discussion and commentary about housing affordability in Australia has reached a crescendo in recent months. But an important piece of the housing puzzle cannot be overlooked in the debate: the role of social housing. It is time for governments … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. SAUL ESLAKE. The causes and effects of the housing affordability crisis, and what can and should be done about it.

Treasurer Scott Morrison is right in saying that “there are no single or easy solutions” – even though he (and others on his side of politics) tend to ignore this advice in emphasising ‘supply-side solutions’ and decrying any suggestion of … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. PETER PHIBBS. The politics of property and the role of urban planning

The narrative provided by the property industry and by some politicians is that the planning system creates large bottlenecks to more supply. Yet the reality is that we have been generating record levels of supply in Australia in recent years. … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. NED CUTCHER. Running the private rental market at a loss, for profit

Understanding how unaffordable housing affects renters is increasingly important, since more Australians can expect to rent for longer. How do negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount affect affordability, amenity and security for renters? Encouraging “mums and dads” to … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. DAMIEN WEBB. An institutional scale solution for the social and affordable housing challenge – from a super fund’s perspective

Many well-intentioned solutions have been proposed to address Australia’s housing affordability problem, yet fail to gain traction because the challenges faced by key stakeholder groups aren’t being addressed simultaneously. We believe success on a material scale will be more likely … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. MARCUS SPILLER. The planning system, politics and housing affordability

Forever expanding supply on the urban fringe is unlikely to provide a solution to retreating affordability of home ownership. Housing needs to be expanded in those places where good jobs, services and infrastructure are. The inner and middle suburbs – … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. JOHN MENADUE. Principles to guide housing policy and programs.

This is part 1 of our new 13 part series – Making Housing Affordable.  Further articles will follow on Tuesday and Wednesday. Good housing policy and programs, as with other areas, should be based on values and principles that inspire and … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. JOHN DALEY, BRENDAN COATES AND TRENT WILTSHIRE (1). Why should we care about housing affordability?

Housing affordability includes a grab-bag of concerns: less money to spend on goods and services other than housing; falling home ownership rates; worsening access to jobs; increasing wealth inequality between and among generations; and increasing risks of a housing-led economic … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. JOHN DALEY, BRENDAN COATES and TRENT WILTSHIRE (2). Sorting reality from the appearance of action on housing affordability.

Governments have raised expectations among voters anxious to see action on housing. There is no shortage of proposed policy solutions. But how do we sort the good from the bad? Many policy ideas sound good, but won’t do much in … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. TIM WILLIAMS. Housing affordability is not just a supply problem

The housing affordability debate is being wrongly understood as just a supply problem. The real cause of house price inflation is excess liquidity and debt, combined with overly generous tax incentives.  

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VIVIENNE MILLIGAN and HAL PAWSON. Ready for growth? Has Australia’s affordable housing industry got what it takes?

Australia lacks any enumerated and resourced plan for expanding affordable housing. Recent growth opportunities in this industry have largely been small-scale, fragmented and ad hoc. As a result, providers have been highly constrained in their ability to predict and plan … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. It’s time for Labor to think big about policy – a people’s bank!

Tony Abbott is not the only one anticipating a change of government at the next election. Voters across the board are increasingly fed up with the Coalition and there are even signs that some of its most devoted cheer leaders … Continue reading

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DAVID JAMES. Deconstructing the privatisation scam

It is increasingly evident how pernicious the privatisation myth is. Two recent examples have underlined it: the failings in Australia’s privatised energy grid and the usurious pricing in airport car parks. Both examples demonstrated that it is folly to expect … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Sydney house prices – an increase of 18.9% in one year!

With only a month to go to the federal budget, the news that Sydney’s median dwelling prices rose by 18.9% in the 12 months to March is sobering. It is surely enough to jolt the Turnbull government into finally adopting … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Is it time to resurrect the Albury-Wodonga city plan?

The housing crisis, hitting young Australians in particular, is one of the cruelest consequences of economic rationalist policy making to which both our major political parties remain super-glued. Neither party has a clearly articulated, long-term solution to this ideologically generated … Continue reading

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IAN VERRENDER. Distribution of debt poses new trigger to the property, housing market

The trigger has been cocked. Our attitude to property has changed. No longer is it merely a castle, a family retreat and a place in which to find shelter. It’s now a highly geared investment vehicle.  It will take enormous … Continue reading

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RODNEY TUCKER. The Tragedy of Australia’s National Broadband Network.

A National Tragedy Australia’s National Broadband Network is heavily dependent on a soon-to-be-obsolete technology (FTTN) that most of the world has rejected. The FTTN-based network was sold to the Australian public based on an underestimate of Australia’s broadband needs (Tucker, … Continue reading

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BOB BIRRELL and DAVID McCLOSKEY. Sydney and Melbourne’s housing affordability crisis: no end in sight.

Our projections show that, on these demographic assumptions, new migrants will add about 64 per cent to the need for extra dwellings in Sydney over the decade 2012 to 2022 and 54 per cent in Melbourne.  

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Saul Eslake’s well timed warnings help inform the housing affordability debate

Saul Eslake, one of Australia’s most highly respected independent economists, has sounded some sobering warnings about the impact of declining rates of home ownership (and rising levels of mortgage debt) on Australia’s retirement income system. He has also once again … Continue reading

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JOHN DALEY and BRENDAN COATES. The latest ideas to use super to buy homes are still bad ideas.

Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to use the May budget to ease growing community anxiety about housing affordability. Lots of ideas are being thrown about: the test for the Treasurer is to sort the good from the bad. Reports that the … Continue reading

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