Counting the costs: Planning requirements, infrastructure contributions, and residential development in Australia

Nicole Gurran*, Kristian Ruming, Bill Randolph

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The urban planning system plays an important role in new housing development. However, there are deep differences in how this role is perceived. Some see planning as supporting housing development, by coordinating infrastructure and ensuring a sufficient supply of land, in line with broader environmental and community well being (Bramley et al. 1995). Others regard planning as obstructive, responsible for creating artificial barriers to new housing supply (Quigley and Rosenthall 2005). Both views have currency in recent Australian debates about affordable housing, and particularly, the ways in which urban planning reduces or improves affordability. For instance, the residential development industry has called attention to the impact of government taxes and land use planning requirements - restrictive policies, red tape, and infrastructure levies - on housing development and affordability (HIA 2003, PCA 2007, UDIA 2007). While downplaying this impact, and defending the role of planning in promoting beneficial social and environmental outcomes, Australian governments and planning industry organisations have accepted the need to enhance and harmonise urban planning systems in support of broader housing, infrastructure and economic development policy (NHSC 2009, PC 2004, PIA 2007, Prime Minister et. al. 2009, Senate Select Committee on Housing Affordability 2008). This report addresses these debates. It is the final output of a project for the Australian and Urban Housing Research Institute (AHURI) on the impacts of planning regulations and charges on the costs of housing development in Australia. It follows a positioning paper (Gurran et al. 2008) which reviewed existing research and established the conceptual and methodological frameworks for the empirical findings presented in this final report.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-111
Number of pages111
JournalAHURI Final Report
Issue number140
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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