Australia’s top official in the prime minister’s office is urging the Turnbull administration to support the government’s controversial plan to build more than a third of new housing in the country.
In a wide-ranging speech to the Australian Construction Council, John Quiggin, the acting secretary general of the Department of Planning and Development, said the government should abandon the Coalition’s plans to build almost half of Australia’s housing stock by 2026.
Mr Quiggen said the current Coalition’s plan to provide housing to all Australians by 2027 was too expensive, had not addressed the needs of those in high-demand areas, and had not adequately addressed the demand for affordable housing.
“I urge you, our industry partners, our building and construction partners to support our Coalition’s new housing plan, and to continue to work towards a fairer and more sustainable future for our country,” Mr Quigin said.
“The Australian construction industry is committed to achieving the highest standards of industry-wide construction and to ensuring that we meet the needs and expectations of the future.”
Mr QuIGGIN said the Government was in favour of the building of more than half the country’s housing, but would not support a Coalition government’s plans for nearly $20 billion to build an additional 300,000 affordable houses.
“It is clear to me that the current strategy will only lead to a further increase in unaffordable housing,” Mr Quingan said.
Mr Quingan told the building industry that he would be willing to work with the Coalition if it supported the construction of more affordable housing, and would consider supporting the Coalition with more money if it provided more affordable units.
Mr Quinngin’s comments come as the Turnbull cabinet prepares to announce the release of its Housing Plan next week.
Mr Abbott has already said he will build 1.8 million more houses over the next five years, and the Coalition is looking to meet the target of a third affordable housing stock, with more than 300,0000 affordable homes built by 2028.
The government’s Housing Plan would see 1.2 million new homes built over the four years from 2020, a reduction of 10 per cent over the previous plan.
The Coalition also wants to provide $5 billion in additional funding for low and moderate income housing, including a further $1 billion for the “build-build” initiative to build 1,500 homes.
The Liberal Party is in the midst of a national election campaign in which it will be trying to keep its majority in the lower house of parliament, the lower chamber of parliament.