Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 March 2022) . . Page.. 428 ..
As outlined in the proposed amendments, the ACT is doing the heavy lifting in relation to doing all we can to address housing affordability, from changes to tax settings, support for first home buyers, support for socially minded landlords preparing to rent out their homes at affordable rents, directly delivering more social housing and working with partners to deliver affordable housing. We absolutely need housing choice and, as outlined in the proposed amendments, the ACT government’s housing choices collaboration hub highlighted the interest in “a wider range of housing typologies at different price points, with a focus on development that allows people to age in place”. That is not always detached houses.
It is also useful to touch on the issue of building quality, as it is a point of discussion relevant to this debate. This is an area that I am actively working on, building on the significant body of reforms that have been introduced in recent years. We continue the policy work that will see more transparency and accountability in relation to developers and other building professionals, and improvements in certification, regulation and compliance. This is a body of work that we are progressing in a way that is in step with the national discussion but that ensures that the ACT is at the forefront of ensuring that the homes we build today will be fit for purpose, accessible and climate wise into the future.
I am sure that we will again return to the discussion about housing affordability and preference in this chamber. We should. But when we have these conversations, let us ensure that we bring all the issues to the table and we continue to work to improve affordability in a way that does not have an irreversible cost, either for people or for the planet.
MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (3.26): I reject Minister Berry’s amendment and support Ms Lee’s motion. It is comforting to know that this motion has been brought forward by the Leader of the Opposition, because we are facing a housing crisis in Canberra. The median price of a detached house is over $1 million and we have the highest median rent in Australia. As shadow minister for planning and land management, I wholeheartedly support the Leader of the Opposition’s motion.
This Labor-Greens government need to acknowledge that they are the sole provider of land in the territory and they have failed repeatedly to meet their own targets. The line that land is in the hands of private developers is otiose because the land was originally issued by the ACT government, of course.
This Labor-Greens government has had over 20 years to plan properly and sustainably for the growth of Canberra. The Labor-Greens government has had over 20 years to ensure that we have delivered duplexes, apartment buildings, standalone dwellings, urban centres, leafy green suburbs and—this is so important, Mr Assistant Speaker—a wider range of housing choices. That is what Canberrans are calling for. We cannot begin to talk about housing choices when people cannot even afford a place to live in the first place.
I would suggest that the Chief Minister, as an economist himself, surely sees the problem in front of him, yet he continues to deny it. As Ms Lee said, it is the Greens