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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3217..


MR WOOD (continuing):

affordable housing strategy which will help form part of possible policy directions for housing for this government. I have been briefed regularly by Ms Purdon, who has informed me of a number of the activities that the task force has been involved in. I have been impressed with the range of activities they have undertaken and the wide range of options they have identified. I stress, as I do repeatedly, that there are no quick and easy solutions to this problem.

One thing that is clear to me is that a number of options are needed and that the right policy mix of assistance for the various tenures is needed. Certainly, I have been made aware through the work of the task force that the development of a shared equity scheme may be of merit and something to consider, but that is only one of a number of options to be examined.

Other options that I have been made aware of and the task force is currently seeking public comment about include utilising the land and planning system to achieve extra units of stock, using a range of financial incentives and trying to achieve a better use of existing affordable housing resources.

The task force has undertaken an analysis of the trends in housing affordability in the ACT, in conjunction with the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, and they have come up with some worrying statistics. As far back as 1999, 7 per cent of households in the ACT were in housing crisis. This figure is likely to have increased substantially since then. Look at the way housing prices and therefore rents have risen in just the last two years.

In 2002 only 19 per cent of total new rents available in the private rental market could be afforded by people in the bottom 40 per cent of income earners. The proportion of rents which private renters could afford has declined in all districts of the ACT over the last five years, in particular in Gungahlin and Tuggeranong.

The implications of a lack of affordable housing for a city as a viable, integrated and prospering entity are substantial. Families will not be able to live in the same neighbourhoods to give each other support and to ensure continuity of the values and traditions of their community.

Lower paid workers will be forced to commute longer and longer distances to get to places of employment, perhaps forcing industries to relocate. If we combine the increasing price and size of both mortgages and rents in the ACT with the possible impending shortage of land that Mr Corbell has recently identified, then the potential seriousness of this issue for the territory becomes apparent.

Mr Speaker, I look forward to receiving the report of the task force. I look forward to the report of the Commonwealth, as it is the first indication in six years that the federal government is interested in affordable housing.

Mr Cornwell: You said yourself that it takes time.

MR WOOD: It has taken a long time for them even to realise there is a problem. At least they have realised there is a problem. It has taken them seven or eight years. The federal government has an opportunity to build on this new area of concern by agreeing to


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