The Federal Government has axed the National Housing Supply Council (NHSC).
The NHSC was established in 2008 to keep track of housing supply, demand and affordability in Australia, and to identify gaps between housing demand and supply.
Critics of the decision say it leaves the nation’s governments flying blind when it comes to housing and supply.
Property Council Executive Director Caryn Kakas is one such critic.
“Far from being ‘past its use-by date’ the NHSC is the government’s only insight into Australia’s housing affordability and undersupply problems,” she said.
“The NHSC’s annual State of Supply report is a critical piece of intelligence that informs industry and government as to the true housing needs around Australia.”
“If the Government is committed to scrapping the NHSC, they must outline an alternative strategy for working with industry to identify and meet the demand for housing.”
“Combined with the scrapping of the Council on Positive Ageing, the Federal Government now has no mechanism for receiving advice on housing policy including for those most vulnerable and seniors.”
Ms Kakas concluded by saying that “housing affordability and supply are too important to be left to the states alone – the Federal Government must play a role in addressing the chronic undersupply of affordable housing”.
The Urban Development Industry has also been critical of the decision, national president Julie Katz also saying the NHSC provided crucial information and data to government and industry.
“Prior to the establishment of the NHSC there was a severe lack of data and research on housing supply and affordability issues in Australia, and the information it has provided since has proven extremely valuable to policy makers at all levels of government, as well as community and industry groups,” she said.
HIA chief executive industry policy and media Graham Wolfe however said the decision gives the country an opportunity for a fresh look at Australia’s housing supply problems.
“Reporting on the supply of housing in Australia, identifying the extent of housing undersupply and making recommendations to address Australia’s housing supply needs are essential tasks,” he said.
“Actual and projected housing supply is vital to all levels of government to inform their planning decisions for future service delivery for the community, infrastructure investment and addressing housing shortfalls.”
What the current state of supply is, what will be needed in the future, where it will be located, what household formation will look like and what type of housing is needed – these are all important questions that need answers.”
Wolfe said that early on in its existence the NHSC identified supply problems that held up the delivery of new homes, but had shifted away from this role in recent times.
“[The decision to abolish the NHSC] should provide the catalyst to once again focus on housing supply outcomes and we look forward to working with government and Treasury in these endeavors,” he said.