There have been significant initiatives emerging from the Queensland Housing Summit which are important to the future of being able to ensure every Queenslander has a home. These initiatives are maturing as the wider housing system is engaged to play optimal roles in achieving success.
There remain some important areas where housing supply can be scaled more effectively. This includes a combination of industry support and investment. The ongoing role of the Housing Round Table is also addressed in terms of opportunities to deploy leaders across sectors to solve significant implementation challenges and barriers.
Capital funding and subsidies
The persistent undersupply of all housing remains a challenging issue for Queensland.
Specifically, there is long-term undersupply in social and affordable homes leaving a significant gap in supply. We need to achieve a healthy housing system in which social
and affordable housing is at least 7.4% of all housing.
While Queensland has in place a significant program of investment, there is justification for an increase in the next Queensland State Budget to continue to create opportunities for a pipeline of housing supply. Future investment needs to increase so that community housing partners can plan for delivery of a housing pipeline that better meets community needs and in a way that builds organisational and industry strength.
- Increase the Queensland Housing Investment Fund to $4 billion, prioritising development through and value retention by Community Housing Organisations (CHOs).
- Provide additional capital funding to CHOs of $500 million per annum over the next five years (indexed to inflation) for a mix of social and affordable housing.
- Co-design with CHOs procurement methodologies enabling Queensland to optimally attract and deploy Federal funding – including Housing Australia Future Fund, Housing Accord, and NHIF.
- Extinguish residual contingent liability of CHOs linked to demonstrated ability to achieve social and affordable housing growth.
Community housing industry
Community housing providers are an important part of the housing system, delivering social and affordable homes to vulnerable Queenslanders.
Since November 2018, the policy intent has been to streamline a single master agreement in support of growth activities.
Housing peak bodies are regularly engaged with the Department of Housing to support progress towards an enabling policy framework. These settings need urgent finalisation so that CHOs have certainty about their operating environment and so that they are in the strongest possible position to participate in funding opportunities emerging through local, state, and national government initiatives.
- Leverage State owned community housing assets to attract debt finance and Federal incentives into the social and affordable housing system by increasing the participation of CHOs. This includes:
- Granting more long-term leases and/or title transfers of state-owned community housing.
- Granting additional stock management rights over more social housing to improve financial viability and the capacity to attract debt finance.
- Mandate the role of community housing providers in government subsidised Affordable Housing Build-to-Rent initiatives, ensuring preservation of state investment in perpetuity within the not-for-profit structure of the CHOs.
- Prequalify CHOs in Queensland to enable fast track procurement methods for housing and service delivery.
- Harmonise community housing rent settings to be consistent with public housing rent settings, enabling equalised approach to eligible income assessment.
- Co-design (with CHOs and tenants) improved allocations processes for social housing so that wait times are reduced.
- Clarify offer of insurance through QGIF to enable a gap analysis and further work to address unmet insurance needs in the sector.
- Negotiate a consistent approach to rates reductions and infrastructure charges to reduce the costs of operations and growth activities.
- Fund the development of a community housing industry roadmap with clear objectives, strategies, and outcome measures.
- Expand the Community Housing Futures Program for a further three years to support growth activities.
- Fund a specific community development program to build local capacity and support for growth projects where social and affordable housing is included.
- Develop an agreed definition of affordable housing that addresses the needs of people in the lowest 40% of the income spectrum.
- Fund a marketplace portal to showcase individual CHOs to potential partners including local governments, philanthropists, development, and construction industries.
Modern methods of construction
Housing Summit measures to engage suppliers of modular homes is important progress. Given the scale of current need, there is a role for these methods to provide significant additional scale to build more homes now. Modern methods of construction can assist because construction costs are lower, and homes can be delivered more quickly. Queensland needs this program to operate at scale through Government investment which will strengthen industry capacity while delivering much-needed homes now.
- Immediately scale up the preferred supplier panel to include more suppliers of modular homes in Queensland.
- Develop an industry plan to support suppliers to build at scale. Engage with the industry to understand what scale in housing supply could be achieved and in what timescale.
- Government to commission a larger scale supply of modular homes to build industry capacity and supply homes to targeted locations and regions including SEQ.
- Develop additional manufacturing hubs in key locations as a way of reducing transport costs.
- Consolidate standardised plans to increase certainty and reduce costs.
- Engage community housing providers to consider the role that these homes could play in developing social and affordable housing.
- In addition to the program of work through Q Build, fund a program to support investment in manufacturing more building components off-site to speed up the growth in scale and capacity of manufacturers.
Planning system reforms
Q Shelter acknowledges the significant progress on planning system reforms including the acceleration of an update to the SEQ Regional Plan. The role and expansion of Priority Development Areas is also positive as is the significant progress on local housing action plans by local governments.
The role of the planning system is vital in terms of both housing affordability and the supply of specific social and affordable housing products. We consider it critical that further progress is made in some key areas so that the planning system is playing an optimal role in solutions.
- Embed housing workforce plans in all infrastructure projects. Require local governments to fast track all approvals for affordable housing. Introduce inclusionary zoning through a combination of mandatory requirements, incentives, and subsidies. These could be applied in combination depending on location. Inclusionary zoning is an important mechanism for capturing value uplift where land is rezoned for higher density development.
- Expand Priority Development Areas with consideration of an additional PDA in key locations with significant housing market and homelessness challenges such as Townsville.
- Invest in expanded community development projects involving peak organisations, CHOs and community centres to build community capacity and support for diverse housing types – including social and affordable housing.$2 million
- Increased funding for community urban change campaign and continuation of the community awareness campaign to support regional plan implementation.$5 million additional funding over next 2 years
- Increased place-based infrastructure funding to support local governments who are providing enabling policy settings for social and affordable housing development.
- Expand and accelerate the development of regional plans with housing targets inclusive of social and affordable housing (20%).
- Adopt a 70/30 consolidation/expansion ratio so that as many people as possible are in high amenity areas thus reducing the risk of spatial poverty. Consider developing an objective matrix to identify high amenity areas suitable for higher-density housing.
- Remove exclusionary zoning practices such as zones that prevent or limit multiple dwelling construction, minimum lot sizes and car parking requirements and implement the Density Done Well Model Codes.
- Provide funding incentives to local governments to accelerate housing plans and extend capacity-building funding to increase the number of housing action plans at the local government level.
- Accelerate the housing monitoring program and ensure a specific set of monitoring activities related to regions impacted by Brisbane 2032, Priority Development Areas, and other infrastructure programs. Ensure the monitoring program monitors evidence of displacement as a basis for mitigation.
A Housing Trust for Queensland
As Queensland is poised for significant infrastructure programs and projects including Brisbane 2032, there is a significant opportunity to capture ESG contributions towards housing outcomes.
A Housing Trust would be a vehicle to capture philanthropic contributions from corporations and the community. It is an opportunity to mobilise broad-based community concern about housing needs in the community.
The advantages of a philanthropic trust include capturing funding opportunities that are additional to government investment and debt financing. In other jurisdictions such as the UK, housing trusts have made a positive impact on the diversification of funding opportunities available for growth activities.
- Fund a developmental project to establish a Housing Trust in Queensland including stakeholder engagement, co-design of the preferred model, risk management plan and legal costs for the establishment of the Trust. Establish a platform to capture philanthropic contributions.$400,000
- Provide an initial funding contribution to establish the Trust.$20 million