Grattan book City Limits highlights problems with current planning and transport policies

Grattan_bookJane Frances-Kelly and Paul Donegan, formerly and currently of the Grattan Institute respectively, had an excellent book published earlier this month called City Limits, which argues strongly for cutting red tape from town planning processes, introducing congestion charging for roads, and replacing stamp duty with a more comprehensive land tax. These would all be good policy reforms.

These paragraphs from p.85 of the book are damning of our complex planning regulations in Queensland:

 In a 2011 report, the Productivity Commission found ‘the regulations and agencies involved in planning, zoning and development assessments constitute one of the most complex regulatory regimes operating in Australia’. Examples of this complexity are not hard to find…The land use planning rules set by Queensland local councils include confusing jargon such as zones, precincts, precinct classes, area classifications, domains, constraint codes, use codes and planning areas…

…Decisions about how land is used can also be referred to specialist government agencies. These include bodies charged to conserve a state’s heritage or protect the environment…In Queensland, fifty-five different situations can trigger a proposal to be referred to a specialist agency.

I would highly recommend City Limits to anyone with an interest in housing, transport and taxation policies.

Previous posts on this blog on these topics include:

Guest post from Brad Rogers – Old Queenslanders in a new city

Govt should explore transport demand management options before committing to costly infrastructure

HIA wants debate on stamp duty, not negative gearing

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1 Response to Grattan book City Limits highlights problems with current planning and transport policies

  1. stephen says:

    Imagine the economic benefits if all of these artificial controls were delaminated.from the fabric of urban development.The involvement of government in determining building style is about 5 steps too far, and with corporatisation of utilities, service provision is now also outside the ken of government so why enshrine it in regulation.
    If anyone is at all serious about addressing the housing affordability crisis in Australia, all of these mandated and artificially high building, design and land use regulations need to be the first to go.
    Even in its manacled state the building industry could provide housing for about half the current prices if it were to be freed from these externally imposed restrictions.
    Further economies achieved by letting market forces free to drive down per metre capital values in areas where they have been artificially inflated by seemingly arbitrarily imposed density restrictions, would enhance those economies.
    Building and construction is one of the few industries left that can employ large numbers of people with a really useful economic magnifier effect, so we as a society need to cast off outdated ideas about land use compatability from the 60s , which were not much more than a convenience at the time, and let it free.

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