Less planning, more development? Housing and urban reform discourses in Australia

Nicole Gurran*, Kristian Ruming

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines how particular interests shape urban policy debate and reform in Australia. With a particular emphasis on proposed planning system reforms in the nation’s largest state of New South Wales, we examine written submissions from development industry sectors, resident groups, and professional associations. We then compare these submissions to government responses, finding these responses heavily reflect industry narratives. In the context of an ongoing microeconomic reform agenda oriented towards deregulation and competition policy, housing development is framed as central to delivering economic growth, while the planning system is portrayed as a constraint holding back investment and new housing production. Through this prism, a series of rhetorical strategies reframe community concerns about housing affordability and the impact of new development to fit the growth agenda, while environmental and social considerations are largely sidelined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-280
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Economic Policy Reform
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016


  • urban planning reform
  • housing market
  • policy discourse


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