Urban Affairs is a twice-weekly email bulletin service focused on urban planning and development. Each news item links to a primary document from politicians, government agencies, peak bodies and research organisations. The great majority of our content is not reported by the general media, and is tailored to inform individuals, business, government, and other organisations involved in urban planning and development, and the many industries that surround it.

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Minister Christian Porter announced a working group to investigate innovative ways to improve the availability of affordable housing. [Full Text]

AHURI published a research and policy bulletin on the potential use of unlisted wholesale residential property funds to help boost affordable housing supply. [Full Text]

The ABS released building approvals figures for November. [Full Text]

CoreLogic RP Data said the figures show a sharp fall in dwelling approvals led by the volatile unit segment. [Full Text]

The total number of approvals in the three months to November 2015 was still 7.9 per cent higher than the level recorded in the same period a year earlier, according to the HIA. [Full Text]

The Ai Group and HIA announced that during December the Performance of Construction Index dropped to a level that indicates industry contraction. [Full Text]

Shadow Minister Anthony Albanese called for a review of the Federal Government's infrastructure program. [Full Text]

Minister Greg Hunt announced that applications for Round Three of the $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund will open on 15 January. [Full Text]

Jamie Briggs announced his retirement as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment. [Full Text]

The PM announced that Greg Hunt will act as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment. [Full Text]

Shadow Minister Andrew Giles said the PM must take cities seriously as he considers his ministerial reshuffle. [Full Text]

The Committee for Sydney released an issues paper on value capture and the future of public transport in Sydney. [Full Text]

Knight Frank issued 'Sydney Transport Infrastructure Insight - December 2015'. [Full Text]

The Urban Taskforce expressed concern about the potential impact of a noise contour option in the Western Sydney Airport EIS, on planning for new homes in the area. [Full Text]

Minister Paul Toole announced that he has referred the NSW Government's 35 council merger proposals to the Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government. [Full Text]

The NSW Office of Local Government issued a circular to councils regarding the commencement of consultation for the first phase of amendments to the Local Government Act. [Full Text]

The Centre of Excellence for Local Government published an article on the history of metropolitan governance reform in Sydney. [Full Text]

The NSW Valuer General released land valuation results, fact sheets and other documents relating to land valuations for 2015. [Full Text]

Land values in Sydney's West underwent a boom in the last financial year, far exceeding the rest of the greater metropolitan area, according to Valuer General Simon Gilkes. [Full Text]

ABS housing approvals for NSW show that November was the sixth-consecutive month of record-breaking figures, according to Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian. [Full Text]

ABS figures indicate that the high point in NSW housing approvals was in the middle of 2015 and that the industry is now moving downwards to a more normal level, according to the Urban Taskforce. [Full Text]

Minister Victor Dominello announced that property underquoting laws have come into effect in NSW. [Full Text]

An article summarising recent reforms to strata laws in NSW has been published by Mondaq. [Full Text]

Registrations of expressions of interest for the NSW Social and Affordable Housing Fund have opened. [Full Text]

The NT Government announced an expressions of interest process for sustainable development and commercial partnerships in the Territory's parks and reserves. [Full Text]

The Victorian Government issued a summary of consultation outcomes for the 'Better Apartments' discussion paper. [Full Text]

The Property Council called for greater attention to the link between design standards and affordability in apartment design regulation. [Full Text]

Minister Richard Wynne approved a $1 billion mixed-use development comprising six towers at Southbank in Melbourne. [Full Text]

Minister Tim Pallas announced that an Environment Effects Statement will be required for Melbourne's $5.5 billion Western Distributor road project. [Full Text]

The Victorian Government released an interactive air quality map. [Full Text]

The Local Government Association of Queensland issued 'An Econometric Analysis of SEQ Dwelling Prices'. [Full Text]

The Queensland Government announced a new 'Fair Expectations of Behaviour Policy' for public housing. [Full Text]

Minister Bill Byrne said the number of dwellings approved for construction in Queensland has increased for the third consecutive month. [Full Text]

The Queensland Government advised that a new coastal management district to consider the impact of climate change sea level rise on coastal erosion and storm tide inundation has been declared. [Full Text]

The Queensland Government issued an update on the tender process for the construction of Stage 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail. [Full Text]