Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1514..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
obligation to support the delivery of community services. I just do not think that is good policy. I don't think it is equitable; I don't think it is fair; I don't think it is good; and it is not a policy that the government will support. I have no intention of endorsing a policy which says that even millionaires under no housing stress should be exempted from the obligation of contributing to services to support the community.
Through initiatives and measures that the government have in place, we do provide targeted support for people suffering housing stress or seeking access to housing for the first time. We have 62 measures in our affordable housing strategy. They are targeted, they are equitable, they are fair and they do not do what the Liberal Party has done for simple, populist effect. It has created a policy which allows the possibility of incredibly wealthy people in our community, including, say, millionaires, being exempt from paying stamp duty. It is not a policy we will support.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Burke.
MRS BURKE: Chief Minister, how many millionaire first home buyers do you know in the ACT and why are so many first home buyers going to Queanbeyan, Yass, Jerrabomberra and even Goulburn because they cannot afford to buy a home in Canberra?
MR STANHOPE: The Liberal Party actually begins to understand some of the implications of its policy and seeks now to rebut them. There are no wealthy people that access or buy first homes. You do not have to be a millionaire to be not in housing stress. I just used it as an example to illustrate the flaw within the Liberal Party's policy. You are not a millionaire, but you are exceedingly well off. This illustrates the folly of the policy at the first level. There is absolutely no equity in providing a policy that advantages wealthy members of our community.
The majority of us at some stage buy a first home. So at some stage we are all first home buyers. Many of us, when we buy our first home, are significantly well paid. Many people who buy their first home are well off. But the Liberal Party's policy has no regard to that because it is a populist stunt. "Irrespective of your wealth, irrespective of your capacity to pay, we will exempt you from the obligation to pay stamp duty. We do not care about your personal circumstance. You could be as wealthy as you like. We will not even inquire. We will just give you this massive exemption from stamp duty."
It is a nonsense policy and it drives demand. Everybody knows it will drive demand. It will not actually, at the end of the day, achieve the purpose or the outcome that is sought. It will probably exacerbate the situation. It is counter intuitive. It will exacerbate the situation that is sought to be addressed. As I say, it is populist; it sounds attractive; it is very simple. It conjures up a notion that all first home buyers are, of course, poor and in housing stress and do not have the capacity to pay. But that is not how it will work. You think about it.
It does not address the issue of affordable housing. As I said before, the government's home buyer concession does. It is carefully targeted. It is targeted at moderate income households looking to purchase a house up to the median price. Stamp duty relief is