Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1796..
the Nicholls report and the Piggott report—both of those experts point to and describe in detail a range of factors which influence house prices. Is Mr Seselja suggesting—and I sense this is where he is going—that if there were no lease variation charge or the flat fee that was in operation for a number of years at a very low rate—if we went back to those days—we would see house prices drop by $50,000 and we would see rents drop by any significant amount?
We do not believe that the lease variation charge, particularly with the very generous concessions provided by this government, will impact on the price of housing. There are many variables which influence the price of housing. Is Mr Seselja seriously arguing that a charge that brings to the ACT community a sum in the order of $20 million a year is going to have a catastrophic effect on rental prices? Is Mr Seselja saying that we should not allow a fair return of that added value of the land that has been granted to a private developer being returned to the community? Is that what Mr Seselja is seriously arguing?
We believe $20 million a year for the granting of those extra development rights right across the city is a fair return for the ACT community, and that $20 million can be used to enhance social housing, public housing, to invest in new services and to support low income households. That is the job of government.
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Chief Minister and concerns affordable housing. Last year the government advised that it was reviewing its affordable housing action plan. Given that the first version of the action plan, released in 2007, did not seem to use data or evidence to ensure that the strategies would deliver housing that was affordable to those that needed it, what steps are you taking to guarantee that this upcoming version is evidence based?
MR STANHOPE: Ms Bresnan, I am not quite sure what I could point to in relation to evidence or what you would regard as evidence, but the department, the government, have consulted extensively through well-attended roundtables with representatives of all of the constituent organisations with an interest in issues around housing and housing affordability. We have consulted extensively. We have taken submissions. We have dealt with the community sector, with the construction industry, and have researched what we would regard as best practice, as practice within other jurisdictions. We have researched extensively issues around housing affordability, access to housing, barriers to access. We have looked at what we see as models within other jurisdictions that we regard as best practice. And we have sought to apply those learnings to our own experience.
In the context of what concrete evidence we have, I would have to take some advice on that. I am more than happy to do it. But it is an issue that we have taken enormously seriously in the ACT in recent years. With respect to any suggestions or allegations that our previous policy was not based on evidence, I must say I would dispute that, in the context of what we regard as evidence.
We have acknowledged that there are still areas where we need to do better. We do have a concern around our capacity to assure affordable housing, most particularly for