Aug 17, 2017
Michael Matusik

There’s a state election coming in Queensland, and it could be a bellwether for the nation.  Do you know the fundamental differences on housing policy between the three major parties?

Does it matter?

Yes, it does matter. We think this is an issue that could determine who the next Government is by how the votes fall in marginal seats. 

And when it comes to affordable housing provision there are now three major parties.  Reporting on current polls suggests a voter split of Labor ~40%; LNP ~40%, and One Nation (with the Greens and Independents) ~20%.

The current Qld Labor Government’s Housing Strategy is a good example of Labor ideology made real – the State will provide public housing; facilitate private and public collaborations to deliver affordable housing and, in general, favour more ‘compact’ urban settlements.  But their planning instruments, like Shaping SEQ, could be seen to artificially constrain the private housing market.

Liberal National Party housing policies tend to move the state government away from being a direct provider of housing, to a role of enabling housing to be provided by others (the private sector and community housing providers).  Housing assistance for our vulnerable citizens is thus transitional – public housing is managed so that it leads people into housing provided by the private sector, rather than allowing people to permanently occupy public housing.  The LNP would prefer to respond to the residential markets rather than lead or manage them (as Labor would like to think it can).

One Nation’s policy restricts the ownership of Australian real estate to Australians.  This is intended to reduce the demand for housing created by offshore investment/home buying and thus the price of housing.

We know the Greens will have a preference deal with Labor, and their published policies on planning, development and public housing reflect contemporary town planning principles (ESD, TODs, Villages, community’s ‘having a say’, etc). It’s often about the process, not the outcome, and their policy on public and rental housing shows they’re at least thinking about it.

So, why bother with One Nation?

Because, as we noted above, current polls and betting and talk has them edging closer to taking seats away from both Labor and the LNP, and thus will have a bearing (with the Greens and Independents) on how the state will be governed.

So, to be blunt, and probably a bit harsh on all three party lines:

  • Labor’s housing policies (and those of the Greens) might (in theory) provide a roof over your head if you’re in dire straits, but will probably increase the price of open market housing in urban areas;
  • LNP housing policies will be ‘tough love’ for those who are doing it tough but will probably facilitate, overall, more affordable housing if bold decisions are quickly made around the complex constraints of housing taxes, infrastructure charges, land availability, and stock transfer of state land; and
  • One Nation’s housing policies will probably make things worse.

Affordable housing is a controversial, but increasingly, important issue.  Its import is not only limited to first home buyers (and their parents) but others in our society, especially our older citizens.  It isn’t also just about buying a home but renting one too.

But will the lack of affordable housing options – and no doubt an issue for an increasing number of voters – make it enough of an election matter for Labor, the LNP and One Nation to reset their policies?

And mark Saturday 4th November in your diary.  Vote early and vote often!

Written with a lot of help and input – well heaps actually – from my colleague Mark Doonar.  You can find out more about Mark here.

PS Mark and I are increasingly working together, and in short, in something we call – MaD – yes we both like the comic, and are old enough to remember (still somewhat clearly) the cold war, but in this case MaD stands for Markets and Design.  We might be able to help you get a better development approval; improve what you already have or set a strategy for the next period ahead.

Contact us to find out more.

Keen to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,


Michael Matusik


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