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National Industry Roundtable: Land Use Planning and Resilience opening remarks


Speaker: Denita Wawn, CEO Master Builders Australia
Event: National Industry Roundtable: Land Use Planning and Resilience
Host: Insurance Council of Australia, Master Builders Australia, Planning Institute Australia
Delivery: Thursday, 27 July 2023, 10.15am AEST
Topic: Housing, land use planning, resilience, development, high-risk flood zones

Australia’s population is projected to grow by 50 per cent between 2022 and 2060 reaching nearly 40 million people.

That means the necessity of a massive construction uplift required for new communities but also uplift in existing communities to accommodate all those people.

Yet, we already have a housing crisis due to years of undersupply that has been caused by restrictions in planning, higher development costs and insufficient shovel-ready land.

Housing shortages place massive pressures on all governments to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

Time is of the essence.

Nevertheless, decisions on removing impediments to the housing supply cannot be undertaken without incorporating a resilience overlay.

The absence of resilience assessments might make the job easier in the short-term but in the long-term if we ignore the implications of high-risk natural hazards we do so to the detriment of our communities.

So, if we don’t get our house in order now in terms of an orderly and long-term cost-effective approach to sustainable and resilient built environment our current housing crisis will look minor into comparison to things to come.

If we continue with our current approach without stopping and reassessing what the future risks will be and how they are to be mitigated or even avoided then new communities are likely to expand into areas that are prone to high-risk natural hazards than can create turmoil for communities, increase costs, and reduce housing stock at a time when we can least afford it.

To meet our future population needs, we need to increase building new communities and redeveloping existing communities.

But if we don’t mitigate long-term risk, then how are we to encourage greater investment into our communities?

Whether it’s by the owner-occupier, mum and dad investors, or institutional investors into the housing sector.

Representing all sectors of the building and construction industry, Master Builders Australia is of the view that effective planning for community growth is imperative to establishing more resilient built environment; and part of that reflection is part of our Sustainability Goals that we released yesterday.

The first report by Master Builders Australia that brings together all of our focus and attention on our long-term issues including resilient communities.

The vulnerability of people and buildings to high-risk natural hazards will depend on how well land use planning, regulations and building standards are aligned to manage the risks.

The ABCB has made resilience as one of its priority work streams for the next three-year cycle of updates to the National Construction Code.

Australian Standards will also be updated as part of this work.

That work needs to be kept simple, workable and effective.

But the NCC is not and should not be the be all and end all of addressing natural disaster risk.

Planning must do its fair share of the heavy lifting as well because without fit for purpose planning overlays, technical building regulation is more likely to always fail.

The building and construction industry needs clear and concise rules that allow the industry to function and the community to have confidence.

Conflating building and planning regulations has the risk of imposing excessive construction costs on all buildings when planning requirements in specific areas could solve the problem at a far less cost.

It is also critical that an improvement in planning’s role in the resilience of our built environment is not confined to regulation.

As the previous other speakers have said, governments need to also ensure that they are providing the right information to enable decisions to be made on concise, local information on the natural hazard risk.

Understanding the specific resilience risks associated with land supply will allow governments, builders and the public to understand if the minimum standard is appropriate.

Without a clear understanding of risk associated with land supply, it is impossible to apply an appropriate standard to building design and construction.

Building more resilient communities requires collaboration between all parties to resolve the significant challenges of natural disasters.

The aim of this forum is to ensure that we are not just leaving it to governments but to collaborate but recognise the importance of the industry’s stakeholders to also provide leadership on these critical issues affecting our communities. Thank you.

Media contact:
Dee Zegarac
National Director, Media & Public Affairs
0400 493 071


In response to the flood emergency of recent years, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), Master Builders Australia (MBA) and the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), supported by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), convened the inaugural National Industry Roundtable: Land Use Planning and Resilience.

Around 60 experts from government, financial services, property, and community joined the discussion, which called on state and territory governments when thinking about future housing challenges, to urgently rethink planning rules so no more homes are built in high-risk flood-prone locations.

A copy of the post event media release and communique can be found here:

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