Back to News

Land Pressure and Booming Population Poses Challenges for Development and Liveability

Supply and demand. The relationship between the quantity of an available commodity and the quantity that vendors wish to buy is the main model that determines the price. When balanced, we have the equilibrium price, where the number of goods supplied matches the quantity demanded by consumers.

In Queensland, we are facing unprecedented challenges governing the supply and demand of a critical product; land.

According to the UDIA[1], land supply is under significant pressure, and the ramification for our industry is profound. Under state government rules, all local government areas should have at least 4 years’ worth of land supply, but many local government authorities simply do not come close in the South East.

Land Supply

  • Gold Coast – 1.7 years
  • Sunshine Coast – 2.4 years
  • Redland City – 2.5 years
  • Brisbane – 3.7 years
  • Moreton Bay – 3.7 years

The last 12 months have also seen a significant wave of interstate migration[2] (90% above decade average) with the poor folk who live in the southern states seeing the light and relocating to Queensland.

At the same time, a number of challenging policy decisions, particularly a moratorium of townhouse development in Brisbane, as well as rampant nimbyism and a poor perception of the development sector, are stymieing the sector’s ability to meet the additional 31,979 dwellings required each year to keep pace with growth.

According to Brad Jones, Director of Planning of Wolter Consulting, there are steps that government can take to improve access to land and to enable dwellings to be constructed, taking pressure off the industry and pain away from the market.

“There is no doubt that land supply is an issue. However, like all issues, with a will, there is always a way. A great place to start would be through the provision of meaningful data to the sector. It is quite challenging to forecast land availability and to scope upcoming supply due to inconsistencies between data shared by each tier of government. It is good to see that the state government has started to address this concern and aims to have more consistent data available to the sector.”

“We also need councils to think differently about the benefits of development. Councils are reliant on the industry for revenue, infrastructure development and the flow-on benefits that developments bring in relation to economic stimulus and rates revenue. One home that becomes 5 townhouses is a significant multiplier for state and local government revenue; therefore, it is disappointing that many councils take a negative view of development.”

“I’d also encourage councils to think differently about how they bring land to market and to move away from sequential land locking. It is an area that Logan City Council is making great strides in as they work with and consult industry on the best way to release land enable access to be providers to developers.”

But Brad acknowledges that the industry can and must do more, and it isn’t just up to governments to change the perception of development.

“As an industry, we can and should do more. We need to talk about the parks, roads, utilities that are funded by development. We should place greater emphasis on the number of jobs our sector creates and the long-term beneficial economic stimulus that development brings to the economy.”

“Whenever a development is proposed, the discussion is always centred on what people do not want. We need to change the narrative to focus clearly on the benefits of development, not simply succumb to opposing voices who do not understand the positive outcomes development has for the neighbourhood, regional and state economies.”

Inertia’s Managing Director, Scott Clements, echoed Brad’s comments and believes that a key driver of future success for the sector is in our ability to change opinion and sentiment. “The public’s reaction to the development sector mimics that of most policy areas, in that the loudest and most negative voices are the ones that are heard the most.”

“As an industry, we must work with local councils and state government to help the general public better understand the positive benefits of good development so that they can then support similar new projects as they crop up.  Positive marketing, ‘open days’ and increased public engagement should be increased to assist in this outcome.”

“Clearview Urban Village, Howard Smith Wharves, Gasworks at Newstead are fantastic examples of how development can bring reward to a city, in economic terms through jobs and rejuvenation as well as significant benefits to retail, entertainment and tourism. It also provides choice for consumers who want to live close to a city, close to public transport and have a choice over type of property they want to live in, rather than having it dictated by regulations that do not necessarily reflect what the majority wants.”