Page 429 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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who are pulling the strings here, with their densification agenda. Of course, this does not give the Labor Chief Minister much room to move. Why doesn’t the Chief Minister pull the levers in his control and, for example, start releasing land—perhaps even just enough to meet the government’s own targets? That would be a good start. The Greens, wedded to their 70 per cent infill agenda, and a Chief Minister committed to strangling supply are responsible for this housing affordability crisis.

I have heard a few things in response to Ms Lee’s motion today, and I want briefly to address them. We have heard that there is an affordability crisis across the country, but we are the ACT. Just because something is happening elsewhere, and given our distinctive land tenure system and the role that the government plays, that is not an excuse; that is a diversion.

We have heard about the Winton report, the government’s own requested survey of Canberrans’ housing choices. It is pretty hard to find, by the way, because Canberrans showed what they wanted and the government decided it was not interested in delivering on what Canberrans wanted. A very important part of Ms Lee’s motion is to find out what this community wants from its government. Surely, that is a question that any sensible and responsible government would be asking.

We have heard that only two per cent of the land release is done by the ACT government, but the other 98 per cent was also released by the ACT government. Is it like saying, “We had no role”? No; you had a role. You have played the role, and continue to play the role, of strangling supply of what Canberrans want. And shame on you, Minister. Shame on you!

As an economist, the Chief Minister said some rather interesting things during annual reports hearings. As best I can, I think I have summarised his economic approach to supply and demand. Here is the only way that I can describe it. If you restrict the supply of a highly demanded product, you do not affect the price of that product. I am not quite sure what to call that, but maybe we will see how this takes with the economic community. I think I will call it “Barronomics”. “Barronomics”: supply does not affect price. It is a very novel economic theory. I would struggle to find much support for that in economic textbooks.

Ms Lee’s motion deserves support. I say to this whole Assembly: Canberrans are making their views known. Just look at the numbers rolling up, and for what kind of land? It is the land they cannot get, because of the government’s decisions. “Barronomics”, Mr Assistant Speaker, is barring home ownership, and it is a bar to housing choice and housing affordability. I support Ms Lee’s motion and reject the amendment proposed by—

Ms Berry: A point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Davis): Mr Cain, there is a point of order. Minister Berry, on a point of order.

Ms Berry: I believe that the member is referring to the Chief Minister inappropriately under the standing orders. He should not be making up names and referring to the Chief Minister in that way.

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