Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 4351..
MR SPEAKER: Ms Burch, a supplementary question?
MS BURCH: I have a supplementary for the Treasurer. Further to your responses to the question so far, can you tell us if the ACT housing market is showing signs of recovery?
MS GALLAGHER: The latest economic indicators—in fact, all of the economic indicators coming out in terms of the housing market—have seen significant increases in activity. We think a lot of this is a pull-forward of the first homeowners grant. I know from discussions I have had with Treasury that some of our revenue coming in, particularly in July, was certainly up on where we had forecast it in the budget. It is a matter of whether or not this has been a pull-forward of the first homeowners grant and we will see some evening out of that over the entire year.
In terms of some of the latest statistics, in August 2009 the number of housing finance commitments for owner-occupation in the ACT in original terms registered growth in the order of 24.3 per cent. This is against a national increase of only 0.5 per cent. Of course, we know that we do see large fluctuations in our numbers due to our small population. But the ACT recorded the strongest annual growth in the country, with residential building approvals in the ACT growing by 33.2 per cent year on year in original terms, compared to a 17.8 per cent fall nationally. With respect to the value of individual investor commitments in the ACT, it is up 16 per cent—the second largest increase in the country.
All of this points to improvements in our local housing market after we did see some significant downturn in the previous year. It is a matter of whether or not this continues through the year, and indeed after the first homeowners grant boost expires in December. But no doubt we look forward to Mr Smyth's positive media release. I am still waiting on the one congratulating us on the AAA credit rating, but I am sure it is being typed out and it will be here soon.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Ms Gallagher! Your time has now expired.
Ms Gallagher: You're the first with the bad news; why don't you just match it when there's good news?
MR SPEAKER: Order!
Mr Stanhope: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.
Answer to question on notice
Question No 260
MRS DUNNE: I would like to seek some explanations under standing order 118A. On 17 September, the 30 days expired on question No 260 to the Minister for Corrections in relation to community service orders. I would like an explanation as to why it is outstanding. It was not redirected to the Attorney-General.
MR CORBELL: That response has been provided to the Secretariat, Mr Speaker.