In debate around the principles guiding the new town planning scheme for the eastern end of the CBD at the February Council meeting, I moved two amendments in support of more affordable housing. The first lifted from 10% to 15% the amount of affordable housing required by developers who opt for the third tier of "additional discretionary height". This was passed 12-1, and brings the council in line with the state government's modest target.
As the scheme amendment stands, developers who don't go for the maximum height will not have to provide any affordable housing. My second amendment sought to address this by imposing a 10% affordable housing requirement on those who cross the second height threshold. However this was lost 10-3, with some councillors worried that it would scare off developers or force the scheme to be re-advertised and delayed.
State government policy limits the ability of councils to mandate affordable housing. It sets a maximum of 15% that can only be "incentivised", prohibiting mandatory minimum thresholds. This means councils can get away with requiring no affordable housing at all as they scramble over each other in order to attract developers. It's all compounded by the historic decline in investment in public housing and the rise in housing prices. Thanks to Jacqui Carter and the folks at Shelter WA for their support and advice on this issue.