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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 4108..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

From 1 July 2004, people purchasing a property valued at up to $273,000 will receive the full concession on their duty, or nearly $8,400. Approximately 25 per cent of current property sales in Canberra fall under this price. I will repeat that: fewer than 25 per cent of current property sales in Canberra fall under this price. This support is provided on a means-tested basis for families with a joint household income of up to $100,000. The income test will also make an additional allowance of $3,300 per child, up to a maximum household income for a family with five children of $116,500. It was estimated that there were 8,590 or 79 per cent of families renting in Canberra who were within this threshold. The sliding concession on duties will benefit first home buyers who purchase properties to an upper threshold level of $375,000, representing 65 per cent of Canberra's current property sales.

It is early in the financial year, however, and the benefits of the policy are already apparent. As of mid-August, 228 applications to the home buyer concession scheme have been received by the Revenue Office, of which 187 have been approved, 8 rejected and 33 are still being processed.

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! There are too many audible conversations.

MR HARGREAVES: By comparison, for the 2003-04 financial year, the Revenue Office received a total of 39 applications for the previous duty concession, of which 36 were eligible.

What makes this Stanhope Labor support package unique is the fact that the property value thresholds are linked to the market activity and will be adjusted every six months. Members will appreciate that prices have increased so quickly over the past few years that virtually no houses were eligible for concession under the previous scheme. Under Labor's policy, a window of market activity will always be within the thresholds applicable to stamp duty concessions.

As I mentioned earlier, it is early in the financial year, but already it is quite clear that the policy has had a significant positive effect. The proportion of first home buyers is up. The value of concessions provided to mid-August was around $1.2 million. This is a significant benefit provided to first home buyers and will make buying that first home that much easier.

I commend the government for this progressive initiative and look forward to further policy development and reform in this area in the next Assembly. The challenge of a modern, responsible and progressive Labor government has been picked up. They have delivered and we have now a government with a modern, responsible and progressive approach to life. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MRS DUNNE (10.40): Of course, Mr Speaker, housing affordability is a very important issue and one that galvanises the attention of many people. Mr Hargreaves was right, at the outset, to point out the very important fact that housing affordability is not just a transient issue. For families who may not be able to afford to enter into the home ownership market at the moment-it may not be that they just cannot do it for a year or two-there is actually a narrow window of opportunity when people have the right set of

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