This week the Minister for Planning released the State Planning Strategy, a worthy volume which outlines how we will move towards 2050 when our population is expected to have doubled to more than 5.6 million.

The release brings to 23 the number of strategic planning documents prepared since the Barnett Government was elected in 2009.   Admittedly they are from different agencies and cover different facets of our community, but none the less, that is a very high number of strategic planning documents.

The State Planning Strategy covers a variety of issues from agriculture and food supply to energy, education and waste.  I was drawn to the section on affordable housing which is so topical at the moment.  The strategy considers a number of options such as incentives through the planning system, alternative tenures such as housing cooperatives and housing design to lower running costs.

When you read the document there is little to disagree with, most is just plain logical.  Our current housing stock is too homogeneous and is not meeting the needs of our increasingly diversified population.  Affordable housing should be around transport, we need more one and two bedroom apartments and we need affordable housing near employment.

We all know that.

Whilst we must have strategic documents, the challenge is in the implementation.  Land around transport nodes is often expensive and multi storey apartments are costly to construct.  In our north west we are fighting a losing battle with housing affordability.

Some of the government departments are working very hard to address the issues and I acknowledge the innovative way the Department of Housing has approached the issue over the last couple of years.

But we still seem to suffer from inertia and unfortunately the market is just about to steam roll over the top of good intentions.  Already social agencies are reporting an increase in homelessness, just take a walk along the beach first thing in the morning and you will see the growing numbers sleeping in their cars.

My new year’s wish is that the government moves its efforts towards the implementation of the many good ideas that have been put forward; with our population growing at record rates we don’t have a moment to lose.

We wish you all the best for 2013, and may the roof over your head be the one you want it to be!