Category Archives: Infrastructure

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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CAMERON MURRAY. Affordable housing reform.

While the decline of our economic diversity, has failed the average worker, it has been a boon for the landlord class. Those who already own land and housing benefit at the expense of those who want access to housing for … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. NSW rail projects – a lot of explaining to do

Yet more questions arise about projects set off by former NSW Transport Minister now Premier Ms Berejiklian. This time about light rail. As for the port privatisations and metro, real answers are yet to come. The sooner a Commonwealth inquiry … Continue reading

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GEORGE BROWNING. The non-existent Australian government energy policy.

It has been clear for some time that the normal capitalist approach of privatising everything does not work in relation to energy. 

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IAN McAULEY. The National Electricity Market: What happens when economists get involved with electricity

John Menadue has asked me to write about the National Electricity Market – the NEM.  I should be qualified to do that: my first degree and my first years of professional work were in electrical engineering and in my later … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. Older women need housing too.

In the growing discourse around affordable housing, the federal and some state governments are edging forwards. Recently proposed changes have merit, but they may exclude poorer older women in need of housing.  

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IAN MCAULEY. Warning from Colin Barnett: Privatisation is on the nose

The WA Government’s proposal to privatise Western Power – the government-owned electricity utility – was one of the factors contributing to the extraordinary anti-Liberal swing in Saturday’s Western Australia election. Privatisation of electricity has also been an issue in the … Continue reading

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PETER PHIBBS. we must call governments out on this ‘Game of Homes’.

When politicians say supply will fix the problem, ask them why it hasn’t worked yet. And also send them a copy of the graph from Chapter 1 of any first-year economics text book showing that price is the result of … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. The ‘Big Picture’ in infrastructure: even more depressing than the little picture?

As news broke recently that the Sydney Metro project would necessitate the closure of Sydney’s Bankstown rail line for a few months each year until well into next decade, the latest State Transport minister urged everyone to ‘look at the … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Victoria’s recent housing affordability initiatives.

Victoria’s Labor Government has made clear its determination to do something about housing affordability, recently announcing a suite of reforms – many aimed at first home buyers. The changes are for the most part designed to boost supply of homes … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. South Australia’s Electricity Problems: Jay Weatherill Should Follow The Coalition’s Example

Spare a thought for the people of South Australia. Large parts of Adelaide blacked out for up to 18 hours without notice. Trams stopped in their tracks across busy intersections. A bitter and partisan debate in state parliament about responsibility … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Making housing affordable – Drawing inspiration from India and Singapore

Not many of those following the housing affordability debate in Australia would think of looking to India and Singapore for inspiration, yet the experiences of each of these countries are inspiring in their scale and ambition (and in Singapore’s case, … Continue reading

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JOHN QUIGGIN. The case for renationalising Australia’s electricity grid.

The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform – cheaper and more … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. The Sydney metro – the doubt and mess continues.

A little more real information about Sydney rail development is coming to light. It is not dispelling the doubts about metro. A decision on Badgerys Creek rail, which would have been straightforward without the metro, is now ‘years off’. The … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN and PETER PHIBBS. Housing policy is captive to property politics, so don’t expect politicians to tackle affordability.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent warnings that house prices would fall steeply under a Labor government confirm the underlying politics of housing policy in Australia. The default position for politicians is to sound concerned about housing affordability, but do nothing. … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN & PETER PHIBBS. How the Property Council is shaping the debate around negative gearing, taxes.

We see their spokespeople quoted in the papers and their ads on TV, but beyond that we know very little about how Australia’s lobby groups get what they want. 

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DOUG CAMERON. Commonwealth can, and must, do more on housing and homelessness

The failure of the market to provide housing for all who need it is compounded by several political failures.  

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HAROLD LEVIEN. Solving our Housing Problem.

Housing investors have largely crowded out first-home-buyers from the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets. The Coalition Government has not simply failed to address this problem; its policies have been the principal cause.  

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SUSAN RYAN, OLIVER FRANKEL, JOHN MENADUE. Upcoming series on Making Housing Affordable.

After Easter, Pearls and Irritations plans to publish a series ‘Making Housing Affordable‘ addressing key aspects of the housing crisis and recommending solutions, with contributions from a range of experts and other key stakeholders, including economists, planners, demographers, housing providers … Continue reading

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