Housing Minister Peter Tinley appears ready to hold a tough line on housing development fees and charges, declaring planning reform may be the most effective way to reduce developers’ costs.

Mr Tinley, taking questions after an Urban Development Institute of Australia WA presentation last week, sympathised with industry complaints about fees and charges, particularly local government use of developer contributions.

But he said his primary concern was about low-income people being cut out of the housing market.

He cited the cost of land as one of the reasons for this and reiterated his advocacy for maintaining the $10,000 WA first-homebuyers grant and the expansion of low-deposit scheme, Keystart.

He said planning reform was crucial to lowering costs.

“The way we do that, in my view, is by planning reform more than (cutting) fees and charges,” Mr Tinley said in answer to a question about charges from UDIA WA chief executive Allison Hailes.

However, Mr Tinley, who stressed his brief was to deliver on the Metronet agenda being driven by Lands Minister Rita Saffioti’s Lands, Transport and Planning portfolios, said it was incumbent on the WA Government to work with industry to ensure “it gets place making right” to support the argument for denser living.

He stressed the State Government’s commitment to vulnerable homebuyers.

On Keystart, he said: “You won’t find any louder advocate for it than me.” On whether the $10,000 first home buyers grant would be maintained, he said: “I am very vocal that it does not get touched.” However, he added: “Regardless of everything I have said around the intention of the Department of Communities, the single most important thing we can do for the economy is be responsible (about) the way we spend taxpayers money.”