John Bongiorno: Supply and collaboration the only way to solve the housing crisis


Australia is one of the luckiest countries in the world and everyone deserves a roof over their heads.

We need to urgently create more affordable rental accommodation.

It’s no good playing the blame game by looking to the past – we have to look a the present and future by collaborating with one another.

We need to park all political differences and work to find immediate solutions for those that need help now.

This issue can only be addressed through the massive increase in the supply of affordable housing.

However, this inequity cannot be resolved by government alone, it urgently needs government at all levels and private sector investment to address the gravity of this crisis.

We’ve seen many well-intentioned recommendations thrown around but frankly, they’re not addressing the issue of supply.

With population growth tipped to dramatically increase in the next two years the gravity of this situation will further disadvantage those who need the most help.

Here’s what I think is needed:

  • Immediate identification of existing federal, state or council buildings and land that is underutilised and can be renovated, converted or built for social housing.
  • Easier framework via planning for the conversion of existing buildings into residential accommodation.
  • Accelerate the planning process and incentivise the development of build-to-rent property.
  • Create a better balance of laws between renters and property providers (landlords).
  • Scrap stamp duty for investors who buy or build-to-rent. But this has to have conditions e.g.; the property must remain in the tenant pool for a minimum of 10 years (or stamp duty to be repaid pro rata if sold or changed).
  • Halve municipal rates for these properties for a minimum of 10 years (same conditions apply as per stamp duty)
  • Cap land tax to single holding bases for these properties by removing the grouping provision.
  • Remove GST liability for build-to-rent properties (applicable to the original investor only).
  • Cap rental increases for these properties to CPI.
  • Retain negative gearing.
  • Unlock light industrial land and property to be used for residential use and allow higher density residential in these areas.
  • Remove restrictions or make it easier for foreign investment to invest capital specifically targeted at the development or investment of rental accommodation.
  • Re-look at all planning and increase the conversion of single housing to dual occupancy.

We need to adopt an urgent timeline and agree on actionable solutions.

We need to cut through red tape and bureaucracy and act now.

We emphasise this solution must be non-political and one where we, as Australians, truly come together (with respect for everyone’s opinions) to form a nationally chaired working committee (and not a talk fest) to solve this national crisis and we need a specific deadline for action.

We cannot go into 2024 without a solution.



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