Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bracks Urban Growth Boundary Mints $4 Billion If You Can Buy Labour Party Mates

Development should be something everyone has an opportunity to be involved in, not something reserved for the politically well-connected. But today it turns out that a Malaysian developer who has hired the right Labor Party insiders stands to get permission for a $4 billion estate in an area where everyone else has been told to forget about further development.

The Age is carrying 3 articles today (1, 2, and 3), and NineMsn is also carrying the story of how if you hire credible Labor Party heavies like former minister in the Cain government David White and former MP under Paul Keating Neil O'Keefe to lobby for you, suddenly the Urban Growth Boundary becomes a lot more pliable.

Now Brackswatch happens to believe that development should go ahead at Rockbank, if the land owners want to develop their blocks. As Nicholas Gruen points out, smart planning policies like Melbourne 2030 artificially drive up property prices. Such policies mean that the cost of land as a proportion of a house price has risen from 20% in the 1970s to 40 - 70% today. However land development, like any other business, should be open to anyone willing to put up the capital, not simply to those who can buy the right connections in Spring Street.


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