Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world and, today, 16 million Australians (80%) live in cities and towns. By 2031, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates the total number of urban Australians will increase to at least 20 million, of a
projected national population of 28 million. Urban centres are and will remain a vital component of Australiaʼs economic, social and cultural future. As new cities emerge and existing cities expand they will continue to face great pressures on already limited resources. Meeting the needs of these populations as well as populations in adjacent regional centres will be a huge challenge. Water shortages, increasing energy costs, inadequate transport and other infrastructure demands, will all have to be addressed, whilst providing more sustainable urban communities. Australia will expect this to be achieved at the same time as jobs are created, the economy expands and Australia remains internationally competitive.
In recent history Australia has been a nation of homeowners. Diminishing affordability is now threatening the ability of many Australians to purchase a home. There are many reasons for this dramatic change in the social fabric of our urban communities and no level of government is without blame. It is the UDIAʼs view that this crisis can only be addressed by all three levels of government in cooperation with the private sector so that home ownership again falls within reach of Australians who want to own a home and have been disenfranchised by soaring land prices. As is amply demonstrated by the following quotes, governments from both sides of the political spectrum have actively recognised and promoted the social and economic benefi ts of increased levels of home ownership.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) recognises that these are complex issues with diffi culties arising from the interrelationship between three levels of government and the fi scal arrangements between governments, the history of massive underfunding in infrastructure and the dynamic forces of numerous discrete housing markets throughout the country. This complexity is compounded by the experience of recent years where the expectation has arisen within government that new purchasers, through developer taxes and charges, will meet substantial infrastructure costs up front rather than having a proportion of these costs funded by public borrowings and paid for by future generations. At a national level, the urban development industry recognises that solutions can be achieved if effective collaboration between various levels of government and the development sector is pursued.
This document contains a series of policy positions that have been adopted by all State UDIA bodies and at National level, and articulates the direction the industry believes must be followed to secure a sustainable future, not just for the development industry, but for Australia.