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Media Release

October 24, 2005

Seeking solutions to the housing affordability crisis

The “great Aussie dream” of home ownership has become increasingly difficult for many Australians in the last decade. This is especially true for first homebuyers. So, what is the future for housing affordability? What role does planning policy and urban growth boundaries play? And what should local and state governments be doing to ensure the “great Aussie dream” lives on?

These questions and more will be discussed in the Tom McKenna annual public lecture – Urban Consolidation: The Planning Plague of Housing Affordability?, co-hosted by UniSA and the South Australian chapter of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA).

The public lecture, to be held on Monday October 31, 5.30pm – 8.30pm at UniSA’s City East campus, will feature Housing Industry Association national president and Home Australia director Bob Day AO, City of Playford general manager Cate Atkinson and West Torrens City Council city development group manager Helen Dyer.

UniSA urban planning lecturer and event co-organiser Dr Paul Maginn says wider public discussion and debate on housing affordability and urban consolidation is long over due.

“Home ownership is one of the best routes to a stable and more prosperous society but rising land and house prices are making this more difficult,” Dr Maginn said. “We have brought people with different perspectives together to comment on what they consider to be the root causes of housing unaffordability and possible solutions to this serious policy and societal issue.”

And PIA South Australian president Kirsty Kelly agrees. “This is a rare chance for the public to hear different sides of the debate on housing development in Adelaide and the impact on housing affordability,” Kelly said.

Speaking at the lecture, Housing Industry Association national president Bob Day will discuss what is behind the housing crisis in Australia.

“We have a housing crisis that is driven by the application of urban planning policies that have now reached plague proportions in the form of urban growth boundaries, zoning and planning policies,” Day said.

“We’re denying a whole generation of younger Australians the opportunity to own their own home – and the social, economic and environmental implications are devastating.”

City of Playford general manager Cate Atkinson denies the fact that planning is the basis for unaffordability. "There are significant opportunities for a far greater range of housing styles and densities throughout the metropolitan area to address housing affordability,” Atkinson said.

“We need to take these opportunities to make vibrant and liveable areas in and around regional centres. Regional centres provide the perfect opportunity for affordable living in more dense setting.”

Meanwhile, West Torrens City Council development manager Helen Dyer says local government can help provide housing choice, affordability and quality of life.

"To assist affordability we need a new approach to planning policy and a paradigm shift in our views on housing styles," Dyer said.

About the speakers

Bob Day AO:

Bob Day is managing director of Home Australia Pty Ltd, one of Australia's leading homebuilding companies. The company includes Homestead Homes in SA, Collier homes in WA, Ashford Homes in Victoria, Newstart Homes in QLD and Huzley Homes in NSW. His strong interest in youth unemployment, homelessness, federalism and industrial relations is reflected in a wide range of appointments which include: National President of the Housing Industry Association, President and Founder of Independent Contractors of Australia, Director of the Centre for Independent Studies, Member of the National Work for the Dole Advisory Committee, Chairman of North East Vocational College, and the Founder and Convenor of nationbuild.com.

Cate Atkinson:

Cate Atkinson has worked with the City of Playford for seven and a half years. As general manager, she has a diverse portfolio incorporating Parks & Open Space, Asset Strategy, People Services and Knowledge Management, and Environment Projects Team. Involved in strategic planning for over 20 years, she has significant experience in both the private sector and local government in strategy and policy, development services, environmental assessment, and community consultation and advocacy. Atkinson is currently working on the development of a population policy for the City of Playford that will underpin the State Government’s Prosperity through People Population Policy, and will provide leadership and guidance for the existing and future community within Playford and the northern region.

Helen Dyer:

Helen Dyer is the Group Manager City Development at the City of West Torrens. A qualified town planner with a Master of Environmental Laws, Helen is past president of the Planning Institute of Australia (SA) and former board member of the Planning Education Foundation. In her current role Helen is responsible for all of the council's planning and building functions, strategic and corporate planning, governance and regulatory services.

Public Lecture – Urban Consolidation: The Planning Plague of Housing Affordability?

Monday October 31, 2005, 5.30pm – 8.30pm (lecture commences at 6pm).

Where: Mutual Community Lecture Theatre, Basil Hetzel Building, City East campus.

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