Bad land use planning decisions and limited building codes drive up housing costs, said Andrew Hall, CEO of the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).
Robust planning controls are key to making housing more accessible, Mr Hall said in an opening statement to the parliamentary inquiry into housing accessibility and supply in Australia, and consideration of natural hazards should be at the heart of political discussions on the offer.
“Pressures to release land to allow ongoing development too often supersede the proper and necessary consideration of the security of locating houses there,” Hall said.
“Evidence of the impacts of poor planning decisions has been seen in decades of bushfires or summer flooding.
“The National Building Code should be amended to provide greater resilience to homes and greater durability against extreme weather conditions incorporated into building design and construction requirements,” he said.
Sub-par building codes and standards can have a “devastating impact on housing affordability,” he says, and building code reforms, more advice from insurers on modernization and better communication information on the risks of natural disasters must remain “a priority in any decision-making. other recommendations on land availability and the impact of housing ”.
Current construction in Australia meets a mandated minimum standard to ensure the preservation of life, but “not built with preservation of property as a primary consideration,” Hall said, noting that $ 6.2 billion is needed for address construction defects and safety concerns in Australia.
Immediate action on a coherent nationwide basis is needed to tackle the required building reforms, he said.
Noting that insurers face a shortage of tradespeople to perform repairs due to border closures during COVID, the ICA warned that any increase in activity on the supply side “must be undertaken and assessed with strong planning arrangements and more stringent building certification requirements in place if we are to have a positive impact on long-term housing affordability ”.
Mr Hall also says that the levies imposed on insurance are retrograde income measures that many surveys show lead to underinsurance or uninsurance of households. The total government taxes and duties imposed on homeowners varied up to 40% on top of the cost of the premium.
General insurers provide Australians with 43 million policies each year and pay over $ 166 million in claims every day.
“Insurance assesses the risk of any asset, and ensuring that these risks are mitigated to the best of our ability to protect the home and have a positive impact on housing affordability,” said Mr. Lobby.