The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) has strongly countered claims by the City of Fremantle that a 100 per cent urban infill target would save the government $30 billion in infrastructure costs, saying those figures are unsubstantiated and such a target would be impossible to achieve without resulting in extremely poor housing choice and affordability outcomes for Perth residents and new home buyers.

“There has not been any independent research done to properly calculate the costs of infill versus greenfield infrastructure provision,” UDIA WA CEO Allison Hailes said.

“I don’t know where the figure of $150,000 per lot for infrastructure in new developments comes from, but I don’t think for one minute that the state government is footing that kind of bill,” Ms Hailes said.

“What we can say categorically, based on our members vast experience delivering urban developments across the metropolitan area, is that the costs of infill development can be just as high, if not higher than greenfield development, due to Perth’s existing limited and ageing public utility infrastructure, which lacks the capacity to handle growth in many areas,” Ms Hailes said.

“In addition to infrastructure capacity constraints, factors such as the limited availability of land, its fragmented nature and high price, can all add significantly to the end price of new housing within an infill area, undermining affordability”.

“We are disappointed that simplistic arguments pitting urban infill against greenfield development continue,” Ms Hailes said.

“In order to effectively, affordably and appropriately house Perth’s future population, we need a balanced approach to urban development that includes both infill and greenfield development, in the right areas,” Ms Hailes said.

“The state government has acknowledged this in their recently released Perth and Peel at 3.5 million sub regional frameworks,” Ms Hailes said. “The frameworks outline a staged approached to the provision of new infrastructure in greenfield areas.”

“Infrastructure for new projects that occurs outside of the land zoned for urban development under the new planning frameworks will not be funded by the government,” Ms Hailes said.

“The fact is, greenfield developers already pay for the bulk of infrastructure in new developments,” Ms Hailes said.

“There’s no doubt there is a need for urban infill, and the roll out of the State’s METRONET will facilitate very successful infill outcomes in precincts around new and existing train stations” Ms Hailes said. “However, there are many people that move to Perth for the affordable, suburban lifestyle opportunities and space that it offers families”.

“Our biggest challenge is to provide a range of housing types at different price points, across all parts of the metro area so that people have housing choice, as a one size fits all approach will not be successful,” Ms Hailes said.


For more information:
Gemma Osiejak
UDIA WA Executive Manager Communications & Marketing
M: 0421 506 819