Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) and Treasurer Jackie Trad are pushing for a City Deal for south-east Queensland.
Photo: AAP/Dan Peled
Political delays dogging infrastructure projects will be history if talks on Tuesday morning cement a new billion-dollar 15-year City Deal for south-east Queensland between all three levels of government.
Such a deal could benefit 3 million people catching trains and buses, driving on highways, building businesses, looking for housing, and finding school and universities between the Sunshine and Gold coasts and west to Toowoomba.
Deputy premier Jackie Trad and Brisbane’s lord mayor Graham Quirk will on Tuesday morning outline how close the 10 south-east Queensland councils – Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley – are to signing Australia’s largest City Deal with the federal government.
Australia now has three City Deals backed by the federal government: Townsville (2016), Launceston (April 2017) and Western Sydney (March 2018).
Cr Quirk, the chairman of Council of Mayors (SEQ) that represents the region’s local governments, described a City Deal for the area as “a dramatic change”.
“The power of aligning the efforts of all levels of government and securing a long-term program of investment in our region will be a game changer,” Cr Quirk said.
“For the first time, all levels of government will be working in unison to protect and enhance the prosperity and liveability of south-east Queensland.”
Brisbane’s lord mayor Graham Quirk begins a campaign for a City Deal funding package for 10 councils on Tuesday morning.
Photo: Fairfax Media
A City Deal binds the three levels of government — federal, state and local — as a group to agree to a 15-year rolling funding program of infrastructure projects that a fast-growing region needs.
As projects provide a lift in land value, that financial uplift is identified, captured and then re-invested into the infrastructure funding pool, under a model first identified in Manchester in 2012 and then in Brisbane in 2014.
In April 2018, Cr Quirk and Ms Trad met the federal government’s new Cities and Urban Infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher, when they first put forward the SEQ City Deal.
All parties described those 2018 talks as “positive”.
Cr Quirk and Ms Trad will begin the public push for the SEQ City Deal at a business breakfast at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday.
“We secured Australia’s first ever City Deal in Townsville, which is paying dividends with projects like the North Queensland Stadium, delivered through the City Deal,” Ms Trad said.
“That is under construction and on track to be open for the start of the 2020 NRL season.”
Townsville’s City Deal is a 15-year arrangement, while Launceston’s is a five-year deal and Western Sydney’s is a 20-year deal.
The federal government is tipped to announce City Deals for Geelong and Darwin by September 2018, allowing planners to work on Hobart, Perth and south-east Queensland over 18 months.
How could it help?
It locks in project funds over 15 to 20 years, moving them away from political promises, which are subject to election outcomes. It could remove election squabbling over the same project.
It sets out a timetable for projects allowing the private sector to invest more confidently.
It could help the next generation of infrastructure projects, after the Pacific Motorway, Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro projects were all delayed by politics, angering voters.
It has also been mentioned as a way of funding Moreton Bay’s new university campus at Petrie and breathing life into the Brisbane River’s Resilient Rivers proposal.
What is Townsville’s experience after 18 months?
The Townsville City Deal was signed on December 9, 2016. It is a 15-year agreement.
Work has begun on stage two of the 25,000-seat $250 million North Queensland Stadium. It will be finished for the 2020 rugby league season. It is funded by the federal and state governments, and Townsville City Council.
The Queensland government has promised $250 million for new water supply for Townsville.
A business case for new Townsville Port facilities is almost finished and the Queensland government has pledged $75 million for port upgrade.
Townville mayor Jenny Hill said choosing the right projects was essential to make a City Deal effective.
“The City Deal provides a roadmap for delivery that breaks the political cycle so it is very important to choose the right projects or areas for reform that will make the biggest difference to a city or region,” Cr Hill said.
“All three levels of government also need to buy into the key priorities of the local area that are included in any City Deal.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill on top of Castle Hill with Townsville in the background.
SEQ City Deal – the background
- May 2012: Co-funding model idea began in United Kingdom.
- June 2015: Queensland prepares its own case for City Deals after Ms Trad looked at the UK City Deals idea in Manchester.
- 2016: Council of Mayors (SEQ), Queensland Property Council and the Queensland government put a plan together.
- November 2016: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk signed a memorandum of understanding with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in November 2016 to develop “tailored City Deals” for Queensland.
- February 2017: Ms Trad and Cr Quirk wrote to then-federal cities minister Angus Taylor, agreeing to a joint submission.
- Late 2017: A Cities Transformation TaskForce established in Brisbane.
- June 2018: Queensland’s major contractors called for a City Deal.
Queensland Attracts UK Property Seekers
Research by realestate.com.au showed that searches for property in Queensland climbed by nearly a third in December compared to the same period in the previous year. This was driven largely by British people who are flocking to one of the most populous states in the country, according to a report by news.com.au.
The study found that property searches originating from the UK increased 31%, with the Sunshine Coast suburbs of Noosa Heads, Buderim and Mooloolaba as popular picks among potential buyers.
New Farm, Redcliffe and North Lakes, meanwhile, topped the list of the most in-demand suburbs in Brisbane.
Nerida Conisbee, Realestate.com.au chief economist, said Queensland, specifically its beachside properties, held the top spot in terms of total search activity among UK property seekers.
“The Hemsworth impact seems to be impacting the view of Byron Bay with this the most searched by UK property seekers in December 2018 — the number tripling from December 2017,” she said.
Universal Buyers Agents Director Darren Piper said that the chaos surrounding Brexit in Britain was enticing overseas buyers to explore the Australian property market.
“House prices in London have fallen for the fifth quarter in a row. It’s natural for investors to look for safe havens in times of uncertainty,” he said.
Australia’s property market has consistently grown over the past decade, with homes in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne reaching record prices.
“It’s the perfect time for people to get their foot in the door and it’s a great time as a homeowner to explore your options, maybe make a move or stay the course,” said Piper.
Where it’s cheaper to buy than rent: It’s Ipswich’s time to shine
SHUT out of the Brisbane market? Don’t despair. You can still bag a bargain in Ipswich as it shakes off its stigma as the city’s poor cousin.
IT HAS played second fiddle to Brisbane for years, but finally, it is Ipswich’s time to shine.
Long regarded as the river city’s poor cousin, the “Switch” has shaken off its stigma and is forging a name for itself as the state’s property bargain capital — where you can get a house for less than your weekly rent.
New figures from realestate.com.au have revealed the suburbs across Queensland where it is now cheaper to buy than rent and eight of the top 20 are in the Ipswich growth corridor.
In Ebbw Vale, where the median house price is $248,500, it works out to be $386 cheaper to own a home in the suburb than to rent one.
And in the burgeoning masterplanned community of Ripley, where it costs $1600 a month on average to rent of home, it only costs $1230 a month on average to own one.
It comes as Brisbane’s housing market has recorded its strongest annual rise in rents in three years.
After months of flat growth in rental properties, analysis of the latest CoreLogic data by realestate.com.au shows house rents increased 2.4 per cent in 2018, while the cost of leasing a unit became 2.6 per cent more expensive.
A rare combination of low interest rates, a rising population and fewer investors and new developments is starting to put upward pressure on rents in the sunshine state and industry experts say now is the time for long-term renters to buy.
Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the only way was up for rents in the city, as underlying demand in the Brisbane market began to absorb rental supply.
Ms Conisbee said she was surprised by the “sheer number of suburbs” in greater Brisbane where it was cheaper to buy than rent.
“There’s quite a large number of them,” she said.
“Now is actually a good time to look to buy because we are looking to see further increases in rental levels.
“The reason being we have fewer new developments going ahead and also fewer investors in the market.”
Caitlin and Bryn Williams decided to buy a home in Ripley when they realised they could pay about the same in loan repayments as they were in rent.
After previously renting in Ipswich, they bought a brand new, four-bedroom house for just over $350,000 in the Ecco Ripley estate, where stage one of the $1.5 billion Ripley Town Centre has just been completed.
“We’re happy not to be renting anymore,” Mrs Williams said.
“What we were paying in rent, we were paying off someone else’s mortgage.”
Ripley is on track to become Australia’s biggest masterplanned community — home to 120,000 by 2041.
CoreLogic figures show the suburb’s median house price has grown by nearly 20 per cent in the past 12 months.
Mohammad Bassiri of Ray White Springfield Lakes said people were starting to realise it worked out cheaper or just as expensive to buy a home in the Ipswich region as it was to rent one.
Mr Bassiri said a friend of his recently moved from a rental at Springfield Lakes to buy a three-bedroom house at South Ripley for $320,000 because he realised the mortgage repayments were the same as his rent payments.
WHERE IT IS CHEAPER TO BUY THAN RENT IN QLD
Suburb Median house price Monthly loan repayment Monthly rent Difference
1. Lamb Island $110,000 $405 $997 $592
2. Macleay Island $182,000 $669 $1,192 $523
3. Russell Island $165,000 $607 $1,083 $476
4. Kilcoy $272,000 $1000 $1,452 $452
5. Mundoolun $576,000 $2,118 $2,548 $430
6. Laidley $237,500 $873 $1,300 $427
7. Woodford $327,250 $1,204 $1,603 $399
8. Plainland $375,000 $1,379 $1,768 $389
9. Ebbw Vale $248,500 $914 $1,300 $386
10. Ripley $335,000 $1,232 $1,603 $371
11. One Mile $242,500 $892 $1,257 $365
12. Blackstone $314,000 $1,155 $1,517 $362
13. Leichhardt $243,375 $895 $1,257 $362
14. Lowood $251,750 $926 $1,278 $352
15. Brendale $270,000 $993 $1,343 $350
16. Riverview $238,500 $877 $1,213 $336
17. Cedar Vale $498,000 $1,832 $2,167 $335
18. Goodna $310,500 $1,142 $1,473 $331
19. Loganholme $381,900 $1,405 $1,733 $328
20. Redbank $329,000 $1,210 $1,538 $328
Originally published as Where it’s cheaper to buy than rent
Labor Unveils $6.6bn Affordable Housing Plan to Build 250,000 New Homes
Labor has announced a ten-year plan to build 250,000 new homes across Australia, including 20,000 during its first term in government if it wins the election.
The $6.6 billion investment would see 250,000 new homes for low income and working families, key workers such as nurses, police, carers and teachers and women over 55, the fastest emerging group of Australians at risk of homelessness.
Subsidies of $8,500 per year would be offered to investors building new homes in return for cheaper rent for eligible tenants.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten unveiled the multibillion-dollar plan in his address yesterday at Labor’s three-day national conference in Adelaide.
“Building more affordable housing is infrastructure policy. It is cities policy. It is jobs and productivity policy,” he said.
The plan would see a family paying the national rental average save up to $92 each week.
“When you provide an affordable home for hard-working people, you give them the level playing-field and fair start they need,” he said.
Shorten said Labor would work with the states and territories, local councils, and community housing providers to make sure the rollout of homes were built “where they’re needed most” and would “go to the people who need them most”.
“Not foreign investors, nor international students.”
The new homes would be accessible for all ages and for people with a disability, with Shorten describing the new homes as “more energy efficient, meaning lower power bills”, also offering a rental discount of 20 per cent.
Describing Labor as a “party of home ownership, and a party of affordable housing and community housing”, Shorten used the speech as an opportunity to call on industry super to “step up” and invest in affordable housing projects.
And of course, the opposition leader touched upon the hotly debated campaign election issue: negative gearing.
“This is a boost for renters and for the liveability of our growing suburbs… Alongside our plans to make negative gearing fairer, it will drive a boom in construction jobs and apprenticeships,” Shorten said.
A recent report published by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) found Australia needed to triple its social housing by 2036, faced with a shortfall of 433,000 social housing dwellings.
Property industry bodies welcome Labor’s announcement
Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison welcomed the incentives, but said they are “no substitute” for the supply of housing which is funded by 2.1 million property investors, “including those who access negative gearing”.
Housing affordability remains a critical issue for many Australians, an issue Morrison says is often overshadowed in the media by Melbourne and Sydney’s cooling markets.
“It makes sense to harness the investment capacity of the private sector to deliver affordable housing,” Morrison said.
“Labor’s incentives for investors to deliver affordable housing will make a contribution to meeting that need while also providing a boost to our construction industry, a key driver of economic activity.”
Planning schemes, land supply, and property taxes, which make up around 25 per cent of the cost of a new house are all part of the housing affordability mix, Morrison added, “there is no single ‘silver bullet’ solution”.
Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said many different approaches are needed to tackle the hugely complex housing affordability issue.
“State and territory governments still have a responsibility to ensure that enough appropriately-zoned land is available in inner-ring suburbs to ensure sufficient housing supply,” Johnson said.
“Infrastructure levies must be kept under control to ensure that these do not add to the cost of housing production.”