Housing model

Congress 2018: resetting policy

Each year HIA’s National Policy Congress brings together National Board members, Presidents and Vice-Presidents from each HIA region, and Chairs of HIA’s National Service Committees to guide HIA’s position on key industry issues.


Kristin Brookfield

Since it began in 1997, the congress has debated more than 120 policies. Currently 60 policies represent HIA’s position on key issues facing the industry. To remain relevant, each policy is reviewed at least every five years. This year more than 20 policies from all aspects of HIA’s policy scope were due for review.

The process to review HIA’s policies each year starts with inviting input from across Australia. Each Regional Service Committee and each Regional Executive Committee can provide feedback in the months leading up to National Policy Congress.

A number of policy statements addressed the broader issues of housing affordability and housing supply and regulations. Congress reconfirmed updated policies in relation to harmonisation and regulatory reform, national housing agreements, GST rebates and first home owner grants. The congress also took the opportunity to review HIA’s position on immigration and population, endorsing a new combined policy statement.

Congress strongly supported HIA’s policy on independent contracting and acknowledged the need for HIA to develop an additional position on the gig (or sharing) economy. It also supported the promotion of further improvements in the definition of a contractor when compared to an employee, limiting the risk of confusion around the legal obligations of businesses.

In the technical space, HIA’s long-standing support for the Australian Building Codes Board and the National Construction Code continues with the policy setting clear expectations about how the code should be managed into the future. Similarly, the importance of Australian Standards was reinforced, with the need for interpretation and guidance on both the code and the standards a high priority for the future.

A re-emerging debate on accessibility in housing saw the congress reconfirm its position on the need for a voluntary approach to special design features to assist people with a disability. The policy was updated to reflect the different types of accessibility features being considered by governments.

Within training and professional development, congress recognised the importance of ongoing professional development tailored to the needs of the industry and appropriate management of training levies.

Five planning policies were revised to set out HIA’s expectations in relation to land supply and truth in zoning, infrastructure funding, and support for faster planning processes. Two workplace health and safety policies were updated to reflect current legislation and terminology.

A number of policies were re-endorsed addressing environmental issues such as mandatory disclosure, waste management and water efficiency, and industrial relations and legal policies such as superannuation and portable long service leave.

The resetting of more than 20 HIA policy statements is a testament to the commitment of members supporting HIA and assisting in forming agreed national positions on the key issues facing members each day.

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