24 April 2023

Jacka land rush shows government is choking supply, says Parton

| Ian Bushnell
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Aerial view of Jacka

An aerial view of Jacka. The suburb will be only 5km from Gungahlin Town Centre. Photo: Suburban Land Agency.

An overwhelming response to the first Jacka land ballot has again resulted in the ACT Government being accused of strangling land supply and making it less affordable to buy a home in the Territory.

The Suburban Land Agency’s ballot for 217 blocks in the new Gungahlin suburb was swamped with 4476 registrations.

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The blocks range in size from 340 square metres at $568,000 to 912 sqm at $758,000, although 893-sqm block is the most expensive at $762,000.

The Indicative Land Release program says that Jacka is expected to deliver a total of 500 single-dwelling blocks and 180 multi-unit homes over the next five years.

Last July, more than 7400 buyers registered for just 51 blocks in the second release of Macnamara in Ginninderry.

Opposition housing spokesperson Mark Parton said the result confirmed that there was a dramatic undersupply of land for detached housing in the ACT.

“This continual strangulation of supply is and has been one of the biggest drivers of housing unaffordability in the ACT,” Mr Parton said.

“The price of land for detached housing underpins the price of all forms of housing across the market and we’ve all seen the knock-on effect.”

mark parton

Opposition housing spokesperson Mark Parton: plenty of viable options for the release of more land. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Mr Parton said the Labor/Green target of 70 per cent infill development had crushed the dreams of many Canberra families.

“Although it’s true that there are likely to be repeat applicants among the four most recent ballots, what we have seen is 29,700 applications for 560 blocks. That is extraordinary,” he said.

Mr Parton said there were plenty of viable options for the release of more land, including West Tuggeranong, the CSIRO Ginninderra field station and the western edge of Molonglo.

He said that last year Labor and the Greens voted to block a feasibility study into West Tuggeranong and its potential for residential development.

They also refused to support a motion calling on them to urge the Commonwealth to release CSIRO land, which could have yielded an extra 2000 dwellings.

“The government criticises the Liberals as the party hellbent on increasing the cities footprint and yet they’re the ones who are pushing to extend the border to accommodate the Ginninderry development,” Mr Parton said.

“And they’re the ones sitting on many thousands of hectares of land on the west edge of Molonglo while refusing to tell Canberrans what they intend to do with it.”

The government insists the West Tuggeranong land is environmentally sensitive and not viable for housing but says it is continuing to negotiate with the Commonwealth over the CSIRO land.

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said the Jacka response showed that the government’s current land release pipeline was insufficient to meet demand.

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Mr Hopkins said the government needed to accelerate the release of build-ready land, invest in public and social housing and reform the planning system to streamline development approvals and allow the construction of ‘missing middle’ housing.

“The government needs to urgently address the local land release and housing problems otherwise will continue to struggle to attract skilled workers and encourage new buyers to enter the housing market, which will ultimately impact the broader health of the ACT’s economy,” he said.

MBA ACT has called on the government to prioritise housing in its upcoming Budget to address a chronic shortage.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on Riotact.

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