100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Latest National news:
Floriade to return to Canberra after two years
The festival will begin in September and run through to October.
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
How do you know when someone is growing large quantities of cannabis?
How do you know when a shed or property is being used to grow large quantities of cannabis?
Stoking fear and hatred held the Coalition in power – finally Australia had enough
For the first time in a decade the logjam to change the country’s politics may be shifting
Labor increasingly likely to form majority government as Liberals descend into turmoil
Anthony Albanese and his senior leadership and economics team will be sworn in on Monday as PM-elect declares he wants…
Michael McCormack suggests Barnaby Joyce’s unpopularity in inner-city contributed to Coalition’s loss
Former Nationals leader says he was ‘very popular’ in inner city and that mixed messages on net zero emissions ‘didn’t…
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
How Albanese’s practical pivot on climate paved the way for a Greens surge
Analysis: As Labor focused on opportunities for working people in the transition to renewables, the Greens mounted a formidable on-the-ground…
Informer: Morrison bulldozed in the wrong direction, happy news for Biloela family
Confessing to a bad habit of "bulldozing" at the eleventh hour, and promising to change his ways, was not enough…

Missed mark on land release adds pressure to ACT housing market

By Alex Crowe
Housing supply has been made an election issue this campaign as thousands of ACT families bid for hundreds of new blocks. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

The ACT government will fail to meet its land release target this year, with a court challenge to expansion in the north adding pressure to an already strained housing market.

More than 4700 sites were scheduled for sale this financial year under the ACT's land release program, with the government now conceding hundreds will not go to market by June 30.

The actual number made available won't be known until closer to that date, the government said, as several sites were still pending planning approvals, including 200 blocks in Jacka.

Expansion of the Gungahlin suburb, key to ACT's strategy to address the housing shortage, is uncertain after ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered a review of its development.

The tribunal's decision to overturn development approval granted to the Suburban Land Agency in October was in response to objections from Paul Carmody, the owner of one of Canberra's oldest farming properties, Elm Grove, which is next door.

The property, the only remaining working wool and hay production farm in Gungahlin, now popular for wedding ceremonies, was heritage-listed in 2008 after an appeal by Mr Carmody to have it protected.

An ACT government spokeswoman said the Jacka matter was currently being reconsidered, with a new decision likely to be made in due course.

Land releases are indicative in nature and subject to shifts across the duration of the program. The current program operates from 2021-22 to 2025-26, they said.

"Shifting of sites across the program can occur for a variety of reasons, including as a result of finds during site investigation and due diligence activities," the spokeswoman said.

High environmental value, cultural significance of sites or the identification of contaminated land were all provides as reasons why their may be delays in the release of sites.

The government spokeswoman said COVID-19 and lockdowns had impacted the delivery of site investigations.

"The ACT government has prioritised the release of single residential blocks of land to match the demand created by various stimulus measures," she said.

With 12,300 interested buyers registering for 71 blocks in the latest land release in Macnamara, demand has far outstripped supply for detached housing blocks in the ACT.

While the next Macnamara sale has been earmarked for mid-year, the number of blocks becoming available has not been confirmed.

The Suburban Land Agency has defended the rate in which it supplies residential blocks in the ACT, revealing prime real estate will soon be available in Turner.

The vacant block on Northbourne Avenue between Condamine and Greenway streets will be divided in two, the block closest to the city scheduled for auction in June.

ACT government has identified the adjoining block as a potential build-to-rent development, a rental-only property designed to provide stability for long-term renters.

Should plans proceed, it would join proposed build-to-rent developments forecast for Denman Prospect, Braddon and Woden, part of a solution to housing shortages in the ACT.

ACT senator Zed Seselja seized on the issue last month, promising a re-elected Morrison government would put a large portion of CSIRO land in the far north up for sale by the end of the year.

Based on average block size in Canberra, this land release would result in around 2000 family homes, the federal Liberals said.

ACT Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee has accused the ACT government of a policy agenda which has deprived Canberrans of choice when it comes to housing.

"This is a government that is absolutely strangling land supply," Ms Lee said at the time of the announcement.

Ms Lee said the lack of housing supply and affordability was something the Liberal-National government was responding to.

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.