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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3684 ..

and, dare I say it, probably now the lower three—you are out of luck. Even couples with secure jobs starting out on their careers are locked out. Of course, ministers Gentleman and Berry would say that there are stacks of choices.

The reality is that this government’s denial of its capacity to do something is culpable. It is the monopoly manager of land supply. It controls planning policy. It controls a $7.6 billion spending budget. Yet it will say that our housing crisis is caused by the federal government, the Reserve Bank, taxation policy, revenue policy or a bad market.

We need to move from the fantasy conjured up and perpetrated by this government and focus on reality. Each week, media reporting presents an ever depressing panorama of broken dreams, with most standalone houses selling for $900,000-plus. If you ever needed stark evidence of the government’s failure in this space, we would point members back to the recent ballot in Taylor, with 115 blocks and 7,484 applicants.

When Mr Gentleman says his government is on top of all of this, he might actually be correct, especially if you have $1 million up your sleeve for a house or $700,000 for a unit. With those numbers at play, it is quite possible that the minister’s policies might actually force—indeed, I believe are forcing—people into homelessness. (Second speaking period taken.)

I have been talking about those who could normally afford a home and were previously able to do so, but we also have a persistent homelessness problem. To the government’s credit, it is trying to do a few positive things in this area. For example, it has quarantined 15 per cent of land release for affordable housing and public housing—or it is trying to do so.

I also recognise that EPSDD’s output 6.3, housing strategy, embodies an aim of 400 new houses being added to the public housing stock, as well as 600 affordable dwellings. Oddly enough, according to projections in another budget statement, housing stock numbers are expected to actually decrease, which must surely exacerbate our homelessness problem.

Mr Assistant Speaker, in this regard there is no better depiction of the yawning gap in policy viewpoints than a couple of articles in a recent edition of Canberra Weekly. On the very same page we had Minister Gentleman reporting on a co-housing project in Ainslie and the CEO of ACTCOSS reporting on our housing situation. As you can imagine, their tone was completely different. Minister Gentleman, of course, was touting the virtues of a compact city and his provision of increased housing choices and, on the very same page, the CEO of ACTCOSS painted an extremely grim picture of what she describes as a housing crisis.

Of course, this crisis has nothing to do with government policy, according to this government. Dr Campbell pointed out that we have the highest median rents of any capital city, thus promoting the highest rates of rental stress among lower income private households. Worse still, she points to 1,600 people in Canberra being homeless.

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