A Liberal lawmaker has called on his party to do a U-turn in its approach to housing density and adopt measures taken by its Conservative colleagues abroad, such as a Canadian plan to financially reward municipalities that exceed their housing targets and punish those that fail.
Christopher Rath, the opposition leader in the NSW upper house, used a late-night adjournment speech last week to urge his fellow Liberals to ignore pressure from “not in my back yard” baby boomers in their electorate who oppose new housing.
“The reality is you’re not going to lose your seat because you get 10 letters [about] a development of some NIMBYs who don’t want it to continue,” he said.
“But you will lose your seat if just one in five Gen Z and one in four Millennials vote Liberal because they can’t afford to buy a house. This is how you lose your place.
“My suggestion would be to do more to dramatically increase the supply of private housing in NSW and perhaps worry a little less about the handful of NIMBY boomers emailing and calling your office.”
Rath called on the Liberal Party to take a cue from the Canadian Conservative Party under Pierre Poilievre, who as opposition leader has introduced a private members’ bill that would require municipalities to increase housing completions by 15 percent each year, to receive their usual infrastructure funding.
Municipalities or cities that exceed the goals would receive bonus funding, while those that do not meet the goals would have to withhold the money. “We will stop giving money to gatekeepers who hinder the construction of houses,” Poilievre said, according to Canada’s National Post.
Rath said the platform successfully appealed to younger Canadian voters, about 40 per cent of whom preferred the Conservative Party – compared to Australia, where the Liberals were the first choice for about 20 per cent of Millennials and Generation Z.