Monday, March 7, 2016

Report Indicates Pentridge Tower Should Be Scuttled

An independent research report released today by the Australian Population Research Institute (TAPRI), ‘Sydney and Melbourne Housing Affordability Crisis: No End in Sight’, has highlighted the flawed approach to housing development currently pursued in Wills, where the main preoccupation of urban planning in relation to the Pentridge Prison site and other activity centre locations is for high rise apartment development. The report finds that such high-rise apartments remain unaffordable to most people and they are unsuitable for younger persons establishing or raising families.

Urban planners have consistently underestimated the proportion of new households over the period to 2022 that will be family households. Not only are record high housing prices driving down levels of home ownership amongst younger persons, but years of ill-conceived housing policy assumptions have resulted in a supply of housing unsuited to raising families.

The report’s findings are particularly relevant to the federal electorate of Wills, in stressing that the “greatest need for additional dwellings is from new young households and recently-arrived migrant households”, not simply for ageing one and two person households as falsely assumed by professional planners to date. 

Official Victorian government population projections for the City of Moreland show that the municipality’s population is not expected to age dramatically. In light of this research, the 19 storey Pentridge tower and other high-rise apartment proposals for Moreland should be scuttled, and planners should turn their minds to retaining family friendly housing in Wills.

The report also vindicates Labor’s pledge to abolish negative gearing tax concessions on new housing. Based on an analysis of housing markets in Melbourne and Sydney, the researchers concluded that rampant house prices, together with continued high net overseas migration, over an extended period have disenfranchised a growing proportion of the younger generation from home ownership. The report’s authors specifically criticised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s opposition to Labor’s negative gearing reforms as “monumental insensitivity to the growing catastrophe flowing from record high housing prices for the next generation of home owners.”

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