Goal 1: An Equitable, Diverse and Sustainable Supply of Housing for the ACT Community

This goal focuses on how the ACT Government will provide land and opportunities for housing development for a growing population, provide housing choice and enable high quality housing that meets the needs of ACT residents.

Key objectives

Key opportunities

Providing an equitable, diverse and sustainable supply of housing for households at all income levels is a fundamental pillar of the strategy. Across all stakeholders, community groups and industry professionals who were consulted during the development of the ACT Housing Strategy, it was clear that housing pressure and stress points could be alleviated through a better supply of the right type of housing, in the right locations.

Goal 1 sets the platform for improving the supply, choice and affordability of housing for all ACT residents; however, it is not without its challenges.

As well as the population growth discussed earlier, the limited availability of land in the ACT creates unique pressures that will need creative planning and design solutions that also incorporate the infrastructure to support housing construction.

High wages, low unemployment and a large number of dual income families in the ACT means the housing market is within reach of most, but is well beyond many families on lower or single incomes. Better targeted and more housing options are needed at the lower priced end of the market. Making sure these options are spread throughout the city will build on the social sustainability of our housing supply and support Canberra's social inclusiveness.

The ACT's new housing market is tight, with limited options apart from a high density apartment or single residential home. There is a 'missing middle' of moderately priced medium-density homes. This missing middle would help provide housing options for different family configurations, people who are ageing in place or people who have accessibility requirements, thereby contributing to diversity and equity. This has been a focus of the ongoing Housing Choices project.

Environmentally sustainable housing will help mitigate cost of living pressures for all households, reduce carbon emissions and help the city prepare for a changing climate.

Under this goal the government will remain committed to monitoring and understanding housing supply and demand pressures, and building a pipeline of development opportunities. Government will respond with a land release and urban renewal program that enables housing diversity, affordable housing choices, stimulates urban renewal and activates key gateways to the city centre and commercial centres.

When releasing land, the government will also seek to align housing with key infrastructure, and consider the important linkages between transport and its role in facilitating access to jobs, education, services and community.

Of particular note is the government's new commitment dedicating 15% of its annual Indicative Land Release Program to growing the supply of public, community and affordable home purchase homes. Equally, it will look to increase the supply of affordable and social housing on privately leased land through incentives and, where appropriate, with planning controls.

The ACT Housing Strategy will integrate with other government initiatives and strategies by considering the recommendations of the Housing Choices Collaboration Hub and the directions set in the Planning Strategy refresh, the Transport Strategy and the new climate change strategy.

The ACT Housing Strategy will lay the platform for improving the supply, choice and affordability of housing for all ACT residents.

Housing stock and new dwellings required:

Figure 4: Housing stock and new dwelling required

Housing stock and new dwelling required: 17000 private homes; 65% low density dwellings comprising separate houses; 18% medium density dwellings including semi-detached, row, terrace and town houses and flats or units attached to a house; 17% high density dwellings including flats, units and apartments in one or more storey buildings.

The ACT's 150,000 households are divided into income quintiles. This strategy will have a particular focus on the first two quintiles.

Income Quintile 1 Income Quintile 2 Income Quintile 3 Income Quintile 4 Income Quintile 5
Annual Income
$0 – $55,000
Annual Income
$55,000 – $100,000
Annual Income
$100,000 – $144,000
Annual Income
$144,000 – $208,000
Annual Income
$208,000 +
Affordable Rental Payments
$0 – $321 pw
Affordable Rental Payments
$321 – $579 pw
Affordable Rental Payments
$579 – $836 pw
Affordable Rental Payments
$836 – $1,198 pw
Affordable Rental Payments
$1,198 + pw
Home Purchased with an Affordable Mortgage
$0 – $260,000
Home Purchased with an Affordable Mortgage
$260,000 – $483,000
Home Purchased with an Affordable Mortgage
$483,000 – $691,000
Home Purchased with an Affordable Mortgage
$691,000 – $990,000
Home Purchased with an Affordable Mortgage
$990,000 +

Note: Rental and mortgage payments are considered affordable when they make up less than 30% gross household income.

Goal 1: Objectives and Actions

Objective 1A: Provide land and housing development opportunities to meet demand

The 2018 ACT Housing Strategy reinforces the important role the ACT Government will play in providing land and housing development opportunities to cater for a growing population.

The implementation of the strategy will be informed by an understanding of housing need and demand and supported by collaboration and consultation across government, industry and the wider ACT community. The ACT Land and Property Report models supply and demand projections; this research is used to inform the government's four year Indicative Land Release Program.

With 17,000 sites programmed for release over the coming four years, the Indicative Land Release Program will be an important contributor to achieving housing diversity, delivering affordable housing choices, stimulating urban renewal and activating key gateways to the city centre and commercial centres. The government will monitor market conditions and opportunities for urban renewal and infill development and report on these trends through the ACT Land and Property Report.


Objective 1B: Set a 15% target for social and affordable housing

Building on the government's previous commitment to improving housing affordability through targeted land release, the strategy includes the government commitment to releasing 15% of its annual indicative land release program to affordable, community and public housing.

The new higher overall target will enable the release of an indicative 2550 (15% of the indicative land release program) dwelling sites for public, community and affordable housing over the next four years. The new target will apply to all land released by the ACT Government. It will replace the previous policy to release affordable home purchase sites in greenfield areas only, which has a historical average of approximately 400 dwellings per year under the Affordable Housing Action Plan.

The new target will respond to the changing pattern of urban growth in the ACT. It will better provide for the growth of public and community housing into the future and enable the social inclusion of low income households into new residential development across the whole ACT.


Objective 1C: Maintain a healthy land and housing development pipeline

The ACT Housing Strategy recognises the important link between a strong and consistent supply of new development opportunities and relieving pressure on the supply and price of housing across the ACT.

The commitment to maintaining four years' worth of land in the early due-diligence, planning and development pipelines will provide greater certainty for industry and community, allow government to respond to spikes in demand and provide a sustainable supply of new development opportunities to cater for a growing population. Monitoring of the market will provide a basis for ongoing review and consideration of future outlook.

A healthy development pipeline also allows room for the government to adequately consider the need to maintain a compact, efficient and sustainable city and to properly consider environmental and community values.


Objective 1D: Provide a diverse mix of housing types and choice

The implementation of the ACT Housing Strategy will align with the findings and recommendations of the Housing Choices Project, and will integrate with the associated Demonstration Housing Projects.

The strategy responds to the specific housing affordability recommendations from the 2018 Housing Choices Collaboration Hub as they relate to land release and alternative occupancy and financing models. The strategy will integrate with any new policy changes or programs as they relate to character, environment, lifestyle and diversity, and planning and approvals processes.

The strategy will integrate with directions outlined during engagement on the ACT Planning Strategy refresh regarding accommodating growth and housing choices. This includes supporting the on-the-ground delivery of more diverse housing types and choices through the development of appropriate planning and design that support a variety of housing types in urban and greenfield environments. Some of these planning considerations are under way, such as the development of the apartment and attached housing design guides policy, and will need to continue as the Planning Strategy refresh is concluded. The new Planning Strategy will provide strategic direction for growth and set the foundation for some of the considerations for the Territory Plan review that will begin in 2019.


Objective 1E: Facilitate innovative design and delivery mechanisms

The Demonstration Housing Projects will build on the Housing Choices policy development work. They will showcase innovative housing design and delivery in Canberra. By bringing together key actions from the Minister for Planning's 2015 Statement of Planning Intent, the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund and the Parliamentary Agreement, the initiative will test future policy direction using real projects to deliver more innovative, sustainable and affordable housing.

The projects will showcase best practice in social and affordable housing while emphasising excellence in design quality, carbon neutral buildings, innovative planning and engagement approaches, innovative housing products and typologies, and close partnership with industry bodies.

During the consultation, alternative ownership and occupancy models were raised, including cooperative housing and community title models. An additional research project will investigate alternative occupancy models.


Objective 1F: Encourage well designed, environmentally sustainable and accessible housing

To facilitate well designed, environmentally sustainable and accessible housing, the government will undertake actions that improve design and affordable living outcomes.

A National Capital Design Review Panel is being established in partnership with the National Capital Authority and the ACT Government Architect to provide independent advice to both the ACT and Australian governments on the design quality of significant public and private sector development proposals.

The 2018 Planning Strategy refresh also provides direction on the changing needs of the ACT community. Particular focus includes facilitating the delivery of housing that is diverse and affordable to support a liveable city. Specific planning provisions will be tested as part of the draft Territory Plan variations for the City and Gateway urban renewal precinct.

Consultation on the housing strategy discussion paper led to considerable feedback on energy costs, universal design and accessibility standards. The Government has a range of existing projects and strategies at a local and national level to address the energy efficiency and accessibility of housing in the ACT, and will continue with work on these issues. In addition, it will investigate options to introduce a voluntary universal design rating system for dwellings in the ACT.

To facilitate more accessible housing options for people with a disability and to enable ageing in place, the government will maintain a strong advocacy role on the National Building Ministers Forum to develop minimum accessibility standards for new dwellings.