Page 432 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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I am happy to be part of an evidence-based environmental party that is quite clear on this. We have heard a lot about the careful approach that we are taking to the western edge, and it is really important that we gather the evidence, protect the environment and make considered, rational choices about this.

We need to make sure that our future development, including all of our housing development, is environmentally sustainable, that it takes into consideration all of the environmental impacts and that it seeks to avoid more environmental harm. I am glad that we have Minister Vassarotti, Minister Berry and the directorates working to ensure that our future development will be high quality, accessible and connected with public and active transport so that it is usable for the people who end up living there, and that it will be environmentally sustainable.

Of course, we have a housing crisis. We know that; we have acknowledged that many times. But it is really important, whilst we are experiencing a climate crisis and an extinction crisis, that we put together a comprehensive response that deals with all of these problems at once, rather than picking off simple solutions that are not solutions at all.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.40): I thank Ms Lee for raising this important issue. The ACT government agrees that affordability is a significant issue right across Australia, including here in the ACT. Our planning strategy and housing strategy both include actions to improve affordability.

The ability of the ACT government to influence affordability is limited. This is a problem that is not unique to Canberra. There is evidence of this issue in cities and regional areas across the country. A wide range of factors have resulted in rising house prices. These include, but are not limited to, commonwealth tax policy, historically low interest rates, financial deregulation, investor sentiment, and increasing house sizes. The two key policies driving house price increases are the commonwealth government’s position on capital gains tax and negative gearing.

I will give an example of the reasoning behind that. These policies have turned housing into an investment earning asset, allowing investors to create wealth. Unless this changes we will continue to fight an uphill battle when it comes to supporting owner-occupiers and, of course, housing affordability. All governments in Australia should work towards ensuring that growth in property prices does not exceed growth in wages over the medium term.

While the commonwealth government is responsible for the primary levers that could be used to address housing affordability, CGT and negative gearing, the ACT government is committed to increasing the supply of more affordable homes and supporting Canberrans to access the housing market. I will go to Ms Luci Ellis from the Reserve Bank. Quite recently, she said:

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