Page 421 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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I acknowledge that it will not be an overnight, miracle fix, but it will go a long way towards giving confidence to so many potential Canberra homebuyers that there is hope. Lest members opposite cry that the Winton report was of a very different Canberra seven years ago and that Canberrans’ wants and needs have changed since then, my motion also calls for the commissioning of an updated housing choices survey so that we can get an updated view of what our community needs and wants from housing.

But let us not forget the over 12,000 applications for 101 blocks in Whitlam. Let us not forget the over 8,000 applications for 71 blocks in Macnamara. And let us not forget the over 7,000 applications for 115 blocks in Taylor. These are figures that speak for themselves.

I urge all members in this chamber to show some respect, show some empathy and show some acknowledgement of the many Canberrans who desperately want to be able to work towards owning their own home. I urge all members in this chamber to say loudly and clearly to these Canberrans that we are listening and that we are taking their concerns seriously. I urge all members in this chamber to support my motion.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (3.06): I thank Ms Lee for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. No-one can deny that housing affordability is an issue and that cost of living pressures are on the rise. This is an economic reality.

The ACT government is working hard to address this reality with economic programs to deliver secure, well-paying jobs, with a public and affordable housing program that will deliver 400 new public housing dwellings and 600 affordable rentals, as well as a range of broad tax relief grants and services targeted at ensuring that we meet the community’s needs.

Meeting the challenges that we face in government requires hard, detailed work. It is not enough just to put out a media release or to say, “Bulldoze this or that piece of nature space and put more single block homes on it.” Maybe the Canberra Liberals will start thinking about bulldozing Namadgi next. There are no simple answers to delivering a well-planned city with homes and communities for everyone. Building a sustainable and connected Canberra requires more than just releasing blocks; we have to keep innovating and working through the environmental, planning and economic issues we face to keep Canberra the great city that it is.

It is a reality that around Australia, and around the world, demand for property is at record levels. Nobody predicted this. It was quite the opposite. The prediction was that there would be a real slump, but the opposite happened. While we are doing everything we can to meet Canberra’s demand, we have to be realistic and recognise that it is not just a question of supply.

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