UDIA calls for Commonwealth land to be handed over for housing

THE Commonwealth Government should undertake thorough, regular auditing of its land assets, in order to identify and make available surplus land for housing development, according to the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA).

Announcing its proposal late last month, the UDIA said tens of thousands of new homes could potentially be accommodated on underutilised Commonwealth Government land across Australia's major cities, providing a boost to housing supply and improving housing affordability.

"There are numerous examples of redundant or underutilised commonwealth land such as defence sites occupying prime city locations," said UDIA National President Julie Katz.

"They're often in older, established areas, and already have good access to transport, employment and community infrastructure such as schools and shops, making them perfect for infill development.

"Development of surplus sites could provide a rapid and cost effective way of bringing much needed new housing to market, improving affordability and supporting jobs in the process," Ms Katz said.

The UDIA said the sale of underutilised sites would also generate tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars for the Federal Government, which could be used to further improve city infrastructure and provide for additional community facilities.

According to the UDIA, the redevelopment of the Bulimba Army Barracks in Brisbane could potentially provide more than 1,000 new homes, while the Keswick Army barracks in Adelaide could free up land for approximately 750 new homes. Where sites are still in use, the UDIA said there may be the potential to redevelop parts of the site for housing, while retaining the existing uses.

"The first step in redeveloping these sites is for the Federal Government to make a genuine effort to actually identify what land is surplus to its needs, and might be suitable for other uses," Ms Katz said.

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