Commonwealth Sell-Off of Land to Help Housing Affordability Crisis

The Federal Government has announced its long-awaited plan to sell off Commonwealth land to address the growing housing affordability crisis. It has promised to speed up the sale of enough blocks for 10,000 houses across the country by 2010.

For the cynical amongst you, it may be interesting to know that the first property that will be available in Sydney is part of an estate in the John Howard’s wobbly seat of Bennelong. For those less cynical but nonetheless concerned about housing affordability, such houses are already on the market for $790,000.

A further 700 dwellings on the banks of the Parramatta River in Ermington will be disposed of by the Government in 2008 as part of the plan that would provide enough land for 6000 dwellings in western Sydney.

Prime Minister John Howard announced plans similar to those of Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, to spend $500 million on infrastructure for community facilities such as playing fields and libraries around new housing on the city fringes and in urban areas.

The most likely area to be sold first is the former Naval Stores Depot in Ermington, which lies in Bennelong, where the developer Stockland has four-bedroom “manor homes” on the market.

Additional sites include the Ingleburn Army Camp in South West Sydney and the Schofields aerodrome in North West Sydney. The Ingleburn site would provide enough land for 4680 dwellings and would require $75 million worth of remediation to be covered by the Commonwealth.

The final two sites in Sydney are West Wattle Grove in south-western Sydney and Bringelly Radio Receiving Station. Simon Turner

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