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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 233..


MR STEFANIAK: Thank you, Mr Seselja. They certainly have not gone down. That does not help first home buyers. Another thing the government can look at, too, is fostering and facilitating housing construction and design innovation. As Mr Seselja quite correctly points out, it costs about $1,200 per square metre these days, and rising. Certainly it has risen a lot after the bushfires of 2003. There are some innovative and quite tasteful designs on the market. Those are things that we as a community need to look at to address this very real problem; otherwise, for the next generation the Australian dream of owning your own home is going to be just that-a dream. I do not think that is something we want to bequeath to our children.

I think there are any number of ways we can address this problem here in Canberra. A lot of it is not reinventing the wheel. We have actually done work before and simply not implemented it. I think there are a number of disincentives to people entering the home market which you do have power to actually do something about, and quickly. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: The time for the discussion is concluded.

Adjournment

Motion (by Mr Corbell ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Water resources

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.12): Mr Speaker, much has been said recently about the challenges confronting our nation and our territory in relation to water. One of the recent comments that caught my eye was the comment of the head of Actew, Michael Costello. I want to preface this by saying that I certainly have a lot of time for Michael Costello. I think he is a serious and rational thinker who is not prone to adopting extremist positions. I often read his articles in the Australian. He has now taken somewhat less of a pro-Beazley stance, I suppose because Kim has gone and he can probably look at things in a different light now. But I certainly think he is a reasonable thinker and I have got a lot of respect for him as an individual.

But I did note with some concern his comments recently, in relation to Canberrans needing to pay much more for water, in a Canberra Times article which was headlined "Canberrans to pay through the hose". While it is reasonable that the price of water should rise, I am concerned at the direction in which this debate is heading. Water is the most basic of human needs and Australia, although a dry continent, does have significant amounts of usable water per capita.

It is one of the great policy failures of recent times that we have not managed our water resources in a more sustainable way. It is in this context that I think we need to be mindful of the effects on families of current charging regimes for water and the potential for this situation to get worse over time. Currently, a family with three children does not just pay more for its water than singles and couples, as you would expect; most of the time it will be forced to pay more per litre of water used, due to


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