By Robert Carry

The Housing Institute of Australia (HIA) has welcomed the Prime Minister's plans to exert federal control over development in Australian cities.

Kevin Rudd recently detailed a national plan for Australia' major cities which will see centralised control over a range of planning and development issues as a response to global warming and population increases.

The managing director of the HIA, the country's largest residential building organisation, pointed out that Australia will need to produce over 6,000,000 new dwellings over the next 50 years, most of which will be located in Australia's capital cities.

Shane Goodwin continued, "Closer integration of housing development with the provision of social and economic infrastructure in a path-breaking Commonwealth-State agreement offers the greatest opportunity for Australia to restore housing affordability by breaking the shackles of chronic housing shortages."

Goodwin added that states have been hampered for years by a lack of funding support from the Commonwealth. He described the move as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the states and territories to partner with the Australian Government in forging a new deal for the funding and management of housing and infrastructure in Australia's major population centres".