UDIA: Budget needs better economic growth

Some-aspects-of-the-201415-federal-budget-have-been-picked-apart-by-an-industry-body_157_70211_0_14085657_300The recently-released federal budget has copped flak from the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), as announced in a May 13 press release.

Given the fiscal deficit, the UDIA has noted that the budget “delivered what it promised to deliver”. However, the industry body has expressed concern about future growth and has called for more focus on fostering future economic growth.

Key infrastructure needs ‘boost’

“Investment in key urban infrastructure has failed to keep up with the growth of our cities in recent years, impacting on productivity and the quality of life in our cities,” the UDIA stated.

An $11.6 billion infrastructure package was welcomed by the UDIA, which noted that this funding will “provide a desperately needed boost in key infrastructure investment”.

Furthermore, it’s anticipated that this extra funding, accounted for in the 2014-15 federal budget, will generate new job opportunities. This is particularly important in a capital city such as Sydney, which is expecting significant population growth over the coming years and decades. The City of Sydney recently announced a $1.94 billion infrastructure program, which will be rolled out over the next decade.

The New South Wales capital had the second-largest population growth of all of Australia’s capital cities in the 12 months to 2013, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The UDIA was less generous when it came to praising the budget in the context on affordable dwellings.

The discontinuation of Round Five of the National Rental Affordability Scheme is a budget blunder in the eyes of the UDIA, which dubbed it a “major disappointment”.

“Since its establishment in 2008, NRAS has delivered 14,575 new homes for low and moderate income households, and was on track to provide 23,884 more,” noted UDIA National President Cameron Shephard.

A squeeze on affordable housing options may push more people to rent, which puts rental property owners in a good position.

However, some policy reworking may be required to address housing affordability at a deeper level.

“The Government will however be reviewing the operation of the scheme as a result of concerns it had with its administration, and UDIA is looking forward to working with the Government on this review,” explained the UDIA.

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