The ACT Liberal Democrats believe that the approach of recent governments to land use and development has been poor and has let down the community.
We believe that the role of government in relation to regulating land use is to provide a fair and robust mechanism for protecting property interests. Government should not set out to protect special interest groups, use land release as its primary revenue-raising mechanism, or to create incentives for property speculation.
The ACT Liberal Democrats will work to reduce restrictions on land use. We neither support nor oppose urban infill. We believe that it is up to landowners and communities to determine the level of density a given area. In all cases, however, it is not the role of government bureaucrats to unnecessarily stifle business activity and distort investment decisions of the private sector through overly complex regulatory schemes.
At the more local level, we believe that residential property owners are subjected to too many non-construction related restrictions on how they may enjoy their property, such as rules around removal of unsafe trees.
The ACT Liberal Democrats would immediately remove the First Home Buyers Grant which is a unnecessary and unwelcome intervention into the market that distorts prices and affects behaviour. It is a well understood economic principle that subsidies provided by government from to the real estate market tend to flow mostly to sellers rather than buyers. As such, the scheme represents poor value for the ratepayer and should be discontinued immediately.
Housing affordability is a serious issue that is best addressed by reducing the red tape costs around land release and by making government less dependent on real estate to fund the budget.
The ACT Liberal Democrats: