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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 6 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2062..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Liberal Party here proposes them and concluded that the flow-on effect took three months.

This independent analysis from Westpac is saying that poorly targeted conveyance duty concessions and poorly targeted demand side policies simply and demonstrably do not work. Westpac estimates that these demand side policies could add as much as half a per cent to median house prices nationally and a staggering 2.1 per cent in Queensland—the jurisdiction on which the Liberal Party in the ACT has based its concession regime.

The Queensland result—this really is relevant—of a 2.1 per cent increase in house prices is instructive because it is the policy the opposition would inflict on the ACT. What does Westpac bank conclude in relation to the Queensland experience, the experience that the Liberal Party has adopted? Based on the latest Real Estate Institute of Australia data, an equivalent increase in the ACT to that which Westpac found in Queensland would immediately raise the median house price in Canberra by $8,900 to $453,900.

The Westpac analysis indicates that a policy such as Mr Seselja's of providing a full conveyance duty concession on a house purchase of up to half a million dollars is likely to flow directly through to higher house prices in a matter of three months. The perverse result of such a policy, the very policy advocated by Mr Seselja and the Liberal Party, is instantly higher house prices, making it even harder for people on lower incomes to enter the housing market.

The conclusions of the Westpac report—this is a report delivered just one week ago—suggest either that the opposition do not understand the dynamics and the economics of the housing market or they are prepared to seek short-term political gain and flashy headlines at the expense of putting households further into debt. Either way, the opposition cannot be trusted with housing affordability policy.

I should also point out that this government already provides duty concessions for first home buyers, but it targets this concession at those households most in need of assistance, households with income of less than $120,000 a year purchasing properties up to the median price. The scheme actually helps those. It is a scheme that helps. It is based on evidence. It helps; it does not hinder. It helps those in need rather than simply pushing up house prices for the entire community.

While the Liberal Party opposition has promised to scrap stamp duty for all first home buyers, no matter how well placed they might be to purchase a home, the ACT government is implementing a comprehensive and well targeted range of affordability measures—62 in all. This is 62 well considered, well consulted on measures against one counterintuitive and damaging measure that is nothing more than voodoo economics. It is voodoo economics. In the words of Westpac, it is a bandaid solution that will drive up prices.

Taxation

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. Following the finding by the Queensland government that the ACT is the highest taxing jurisdiction in Australia,


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