30 August 2023
PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE (AFFORDABLE HOUSING) AMENDMENT BILL
Introduction and First Reading
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (17:35): obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act, 2016. Read a first time.
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (17:36): I move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
The Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Affordable Housing) Amendment Bill addresses a critical issue when it comes to new housing developments in our state, that is, the lack of affordable housing for people on low incomes. Housing is a fundamental human right, and everybody deserves a roof over their head and a place to call home. The Australian government's Institute of Health and Welfare states:
Access to good quality, affordable housing is fundamental to wellbeing. It can help reduce poverty and enhance equality of opportunity, social inclusion and mobility.
In 2021, Adelaide was ranked the 13th most unaffordable metro area out of 92 major international housing markets, according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability report. This meant that Adelaide's housing was less affordable than Brisbane, Perth and even New York and Seattle.
According to the Beyond the Housing Crisis report from Believe Housing and UniSA in 2022, Adelaide has the tightest rental market anywhere in the country since 2017, with just 0.2 per cent of properties remaining vacant. This is an example of a serious lack of supply in our housing market and a lack of affordable housing options. I have spoken many times in this place about the housing crisis.
The Malinauskas government have acknowledged the lack of supply of affordable housing in their plan titled 'A better housing future', released in February this year, and I quote from that paper:
The government recognises that our—
that is, their, the government's—
plan provides a response to the current housing challenges, however more needs to be done to continue to support increased and well located affordable and appropriate housing in the state.
The bill the Greens are proposing here today—
There being a disturbance in the gallery:
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: It sounds like it is very popular in the gallery as well.
The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Simms, everybody in the gallery is in raptures.
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: The bill the Greens are proposing here today aims to ensure that affordable housing is considered for all major developments, not just those within the affordable housing overlay.
Currently in South Australia, developments within the affordable housing overlay that are for 20 or more dwellings or residential allotments are required to include 15 per cent of affordable housing. Well, 15 per cent just simply is not enough, and that is why the Greens are proposing 30 per cent, that is, 10 per cent affordable to buy, 10 per cent affordable to rent and 10 per cent that is social housing.
When one considers the maps of the Affordable Housing Overlay available on PlanSA's Property and Planning Atlas, it is clear that many areas of future growth are not currently captured by the overlay. Members will be aware that earlier this year the Malinauskas government announced that new land would be released in Hackham, Dry Creek, Concordia and Sellicks Beach. Of course, we welcome that—recognising that we are in the middle of a housing crisis—but we must ensure that this is not a land release that only serves developers. We must ensure that we do not see Mount Barker 2.0 where there is a lack of appropriate planning. Part of that planning is to ensure that there is appropriate return to the community by way of increased social housing and increased affordable housing.
I recognise the government's commitment to including 15 per cent affordable housing in these new developments. We welcome that, but the reality is, it is simply not enough. What is in place to stop future governments from releasing land that sits outside of the overlay and not ensuring that there is a 15 per cent return? What the Greens are proposing is increasing that return and abolishing the applications simply to the overlay.
The Greens' bill is consistent with calls from advocacy groups such as National Shelter. They have been calling for a mandatory 30 per cent affordable housing in developments. These calls are supported by research undertaken by Shelter, who in 2019 found that 97 per cent of their survey respondents agreed that action was needed to address housing affordability, and that mandatory inclusionary zoning of the kind that the Greens are proposing was the preferred mechanism for that action.
The bill progresses those recommendations and establishes a minimum 30 per cent affordable housing requirement. For the current proposed developments earlier this year, this would double the number of affordable houses to be delivered: from just 3,405 under the Malinauskas government's plan, to 6,810 under the plan of the Greens. That would help another 3,000 households access housing that is affordable for them.
National Shelter has also asked participants of that survey to rate the types of housing options, with the result showing that affordable housing to purchase was the least favoured option, and that build-to-rent products should also be included. Their policy recommendation is that one-third of affordable homes be for rent, one-third for purchase and one-third be made available for social housing, and that is precisely what the Greens are proposing.
I note that two weeks ago the Malinauskas government released the discussion paper for the new Greater Adelaide Regional Plan. The paper claims that with current growth trends we will need an additional 300,000 homes over the next 30 years. Supply is important for ensuring that we address our state's housing crisis. But, as we have this discussion about development, we need to ensure that developers are providing an appropriate return to the community, and that means beefing up our investment in affordable housing and beefing up the investment in social housing.
The Greens' proposal for a minimum requirement of 10 per cent affordable to buy, 10 per cent affordable to own and 10 per cent social public housing is really worthwhile. I intend to write to the Minister for Planning, the Hon. Nick Champion MP, and of course his shadow, the Hon. Michelle Lensink, with whom I have had an opportunity to have a brief conversation in this regard. I intend to write to both of these members and urge them to back this sensible proposal from the Greens, because there is an opportunity for us to work together in the parliament to tackle the state's housing crisis head-on. With that, I conclude my remarks.
Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.