Commonwealth Property Portfolio

The announcement by the Minister for Finance about the Government’s Property Register is good news for Australian taxpayers.

“The development of an Australian Government Property Register is a long overdue initiative that will allow new partnerships between the Federal Government, business and the community”, said Glenn Byres, Chief of Policy and Housing, Property Council of Australia.

“It is remarkable that Australia’s biggest land owner did not have a register of the land it owned until recently. Commonwealth lands are taxpayer assets and this register will result in taxpayers getting better value out of their assets.

Mr Byres said the Property Council supported the Government’s use of inclusionary zoning as part of the management of its own property portfolio.

“If the Commonwealth chooses to limit the usage of a parcel of land for a specific purpose it is within its gift to do so. By imposing inclusionary zoning on itself, the government is indicating its willingness to maximise other non-financial benefits from its holdings. This is different from government imposing inclusionary zoning on private owners which is nothing less than an imposed private subsidy of a government desired outcome.

“It makes good sense to use surplus government land holdings for more productive uses, including new housing and employment precincts – and that’s consistent with the announcement in this year’s federal Budget.

“It is a win-win as we can help accelerate the supply of new housing to the market, as well as free up capital across the Government’s balance sheet for better uses.

“It also makes sense for governments to set targets for affordable housing on their own land when they are selling into the private sector.

“As long as the expectations are transparent for bidders, the private sector can price it into their bids accordingly and partner with government to deliver the right outcome.”

For more information contact: Paul Ritchie at pritchie@propertycouncil.com.au