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Housing Land Supply Amendment Bill 2023

Vica Bayley MP

Vica Bayley MP  -  Wednesday, 16 August 2023

Tags: Social and Affordable Housing, Planning, Legislation

Mr BAYLEY (Clark) - Mr Speaker, the Housing Land Supply Act 2018 was established with the support of the Greens. While we intend to support this amendment bill, we have some concerns that we would like to put to the minister to address and to flag some amendments.

The purpose of the legislation was a short term way to fast track the rezoning process for eligible government land for use under the Homes Act 1935. This was subsequently repealed and replaced with the Homes Tasmania Act 2022. The proposition was that this would result in faster delivery of public housing.

We are now five years down the track and are being asked to extend the sunset clause on this act by 10 years. Twelve orders have been made, a total of 61 hectares, as we have heard in the minister's second reading speech. It is incumbent upon Government to provide details and evidence of the effectiveness of the act so far.

We heard from Ms Haddad as well as our own investigations on Google Earth for the properties that have been subject to a housing land supply order and we cannot find any evidence of construction commencing on those lands, including on properties that were rezoned five years ago. Forgive me if there is an error there but that is our analysis.

Minister, what is the status of each parcel of land already rezoned under this legislation? For example, how many have had a development application lodged, development application approved, construction approved and construction actually commenced?

The second reading speech of the Housing Land Supply Bill 2018 also noted that some rezoning applications can take longer than nine months to finalise. The rezoning process under this legislation could take up to six months off that time frame. The Greens put it to the minister that taking six months off a rezoning process does not necessarily translate into taking six months off the entire process. That is self evident in the analysis of what has happened on these blocks. As we understand it, there are options for concurrent processes including submitting joint rezoning and development applications. If it is taking many years from start to finish, it seems unlikely that fast tracking the rezoning process is making much difference to the completion times for developments.

We are really strong supporters of housing and strong supporters of social and affordable housing. I hope the minister can provide some explanation and evidence for this process providing benefit for the delivery of public housing.

Is the minister able to provide an average time from start to completion for public housing developments that go through a standard rezoning process? What is the average time from start to completion for developments that go through this particular rezoning process? If there are yet to be any completed, what is the anticipated time saving and what evidence is there to support this view?

Minister, in your second reading speech you also stated that a total of 61 hectares has been rezoned for housing purposes and transferred to Homes Tasmania for delivery, which could - and I emphasise could - deliver 1000 new homes. We find this language opaque. Do you have an estimate of how many homes are likely to be built on the land zoned so far? How many of these properties will be social housing and how many will be commercial properties? We note from the second reading speech that the main benefit of this legislation is putting a focus on social and affordable housing.

It is incumbent upon the Government to put some facts on the table to demonstrate exactly how this is working and what it expects to be delivered, not just in vague opaque terms but in specifics. The Greens have a couple of amendments that we have distributed in the last hour or so. The original bill from 2018 was time limited by the legislation for five years, the sunset clause, five years. This why we are in this House today debating the bill.

We are now looking at a bill that will extend it by a further 10 years. That is a significant amount of time for what was originally described as a short-term fix or a short opportunity to rapidly rezone land with a focus on social and affordable housing. We are yet to see any evidence that it is actually working and had any meaningful effects.

The substance of our amendments is to change the sunset date from 2033 to 2026, three years out from now. We intend to keep this legislation in place and have it keep working but also require a review of the act to commence within two years. By the time we come around to looking at this again in 2026 the department and the minister has some cold, hard evidence about the effectiveness of this act that we can analyse and then consider a more lengthy extension to it.

That is the proposition for which we will be seeking the support of the House. We are of the view that the next time parliament sees an amendment bill extending this act we should be presented with evidence of its effectiveness.