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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release August 2003

Trembling Politicians

Dear SOS Member

In our newsletter to you last week we told you about an editorial in the Australian Financial Review which stated:

"State politicians also tremble in fear of the radical middle-class guerrillas of the Save Our Suburbs and other selfish NIMBY movements."

A letter we sent to the Financial Review written in the style of writing used for their readership has been published today (18 August):

Higher housing prices benefit State Governments

Your editorial "States control housing levers" (AFR 12) alleges that Save Our Suburbs and other NIMBY movements make politicians tremble in their boots.
So they should, given the misleading government statements that the policy of forcing high-population densities onto communities who oppose this imposition is to the benefit of the population as a whole.

The real problem is that the States (NSW in particular) really do control the supply of housing and are directly accountable for high prices.

In 1993 NSW land releases accounted for 42% of new housing but by 1999, this figure had slumped to 28%. With an increasing population, and a limitation on the release of new land, higher prices are inevitable.

The supply-side alternative of increased medium-density development (peddled by the Carr Government as a solution) is not more affordable but results in congestion and places the burden of the provision of infrastructure to support these developments on the local government.

There are two solutions to the affordability issue: Increase supply on the urban fringe (where the public costs of infrastructure provision are lower than in existing urban areas) or reduce demand through the development of alternative regional hubs.

The arguments about housing affordability that are put forward by the government hide the benefits to state governments in the continued high-priced housing. They continue to be recipients of very large revenues through stamp duty to support their profligate spending.

Tony Recsei
President Save Our Suburbs
Warrawee, NSW

The letter is accompanied by a cartoon depicting a speeding out of control Millennium train named "Property". The driver is saying "That's weird, no brakes!".

Lets keep them trembling.

Tony Recsei
Save Our Suburbs (SOS)

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