With housing affordability squarely on the minds of the voting public, governments are looking at selling off excess Crown land no longer needed for government purposes.
In the Federal Budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison put forward the former Defence force land at Maribyrnong as a future suburb and the Andrews government is examining the sale of the former Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre site and the Parkville Youth Detention Centre.
But for all the talk increasing housing supply to increase affordability, developing these sites into residential precincts is unlikely to have any noticeable impact on prices.
The standard approach of selling to the highest bidder, then incentivised to onsell at the highest possible prices, is just not conducive to achieving the good quality, low-cost housing that our cities desperately need.
If government land is to be sold off for housing, we need to get the best possible outcome. With this in mind, there is a bold opportunity open to governments if they truly wish to increase supply of specifically affordable housing.
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