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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1308..


MR BARR (continuing):


fault and nor are the users. But the ultimate response to this is to pursue the legal avenues against Mr Turco, but that can only commence if and when he is in breach of his lease and the territory plan requirements.

I am afraid to say that that occurs when the pool closes—if the pool closes. It is, of course, possible that Mr Turco may find an alternative operator for his facility. I think that is unlikely, but that might happen because we need to distinguish between Deakin Swimming Ltd's financial position and Mr Turco's financial position, which I think are clearly very different.

Housing—affordability

MS PORTER: My question is to the Chief Minister. The latest figures from the Real Estate Institute again show that the ACT remains far and away the most affordable jurisdiction in which to buy a home. Can the Chief Minister tell the Assembly how the policies and initiatives of the ACT government contribute to this position and of other policies of which he is aware?

MR STANHOPE: I am very pleased to have an opportunity to respond to Ms Porter's question and to acknowledge Ms Porter's interest in housing affordability, unlike the Liberals, who treat the issue as one of great hilarity and something to joke about. I guess that is reflected in their single, one and only policy. They have one policy of their own and they oppose all 63 of the initiatives which the government is pursuing through the affordability action plan.

It really is quite stark—the one, single, middle-class, middle-income tax break which the Liberal Party will offer to those earning in excess of $120,000 to allow them to buy houses of least up to half a million, and probably more. It is a great single policy. Just as they only have a single response to the global financial crisis, and that is to stop buying paper, they have a single housing affordability initiative—a stamp duty holiday.

Just because they only have single ideas in relation to these two issues, I do not know why they oppose everything that everybody else does or suggests. I find it quite remarkable. You have got no other ideas and you are fixated on a tax break, but cannot you support other policies that are quite obviously and evidently working—innovative policies that have a real potential contribution to make to the issue of housing affordability and diversity of stock here within the territory?

Having said that, it is interesting—of course, it is due to a combination of relatively high incomes which Canberrans enjoy and issues such as the reduction in interest rates and the relative level and capacity of ACT householders—that the housing affordability index, as reported by the Real Estate Institute of Australia, has dropped quite remarkably, to the point where the ACT has advanced even more significantly as a jurisdiction in relation to which the proportion or percentage of disposable income required to pay mortgages has dropped even more, to 18 per cent.


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