What is in the 2017–18 Budget for Australian cities?

A National Housing Infrastructure Facility, the Western Sydney City Deal, and Government land for housing

Last updated 31 May 2017

Following our recent analysis of the housing and homelessness measures in the 2017–18 Federal Budget, it is worthwhile examining some of the measures relevant to the Government’s Cities agenda, particularly with respect to housing.

National Housing Infrastructure Facility

A key initiative announced is the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF), which will, over 5 years, provide $1 billion to support local governments finance critical infrastructure such as transport links, site remediation works and power and water infrastructure needed to speed up the supply of new housing. Payments of $600 million in concessional loans, $225 million in equity investments and $175 million in grants will be made to local governments through state and territory governments. The newly created National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation will administer the NHIF, which will commence on 1 July 2018.

Western Sydney City Deal housing package

Over the next 20 years Sydney’s population will increase by around 1.3 million, much of it in the eight local government areas covered by the Government’s Western Sydney City Deal. The region will need tens of thousands of new homes every year to keep up with growth and take the pressure off house prices.

Under the Western Sydney City Deal, the Government will work in partnership with the NSW and local governments, focusing on local job opportunities; connectivity and liveability; catalysing development in the area surrounding the new Western Sydney Airport; stimulating local job growth; and improving transport options with the rest of Sydney. The Deal will offer incentive payments to the State and local governments to support planning and zoning reform, accelerate housing supply and deliver affordable housing outcomes in Western Sydney.

Each local government area will develop housing strategies to help them reach agreed housing supply targets. These strategies might include rezoning land for higher density housing around railway stations or employment centres; reforms that reduce development approval timeframes; and other changes needed to unlock housing supply.

The housing package will be finalised in negotiation with all Western Sydney City Deal partners and is expected to be finalised in late 2017.

Registry of Government land

The Government will establish an open data land registry to provide detailed information about Commonwealth land to external parties, such as developers, so as to encourage proposals for higher-value land use including housing development. The Government is also releasing 127 hectares of surplus Defence land in Maribyrnong, which is less than 10 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD and could support up to 6,000 new residential dwellings, which could include a number of social and affordable housing dwellings.