Page 440 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022
To the ACT government: enough with your excuses. Stop it. It is time for you to grow up, accept the responsibility you know you have as the government of this territory and do something. This includes using the policy levers that you know you have to help ease the housing affordability crisis gripping this territory. I commend this motion to the Assembly.
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (4.03): Maybe I should be more surprised, but sadly I am not. Everything that has been spoken about in this debate by members of the government, Labor and the Greens, was just so predictable. We get the standard lecture, and they divert, “It’s not our fault; it’s the commonwealth government’s fault.” But the economic reality that this Labor-Greens government fails to acknowledge, to accept and even to see, is that there is a factor that is within its control. Instead of blaming everything else, all of the factors that are outside their control, how about looking at some of the levers that the ACT government actually control? And what do we get? An amendment from Ms Berry which puts forward one solution, which is—do you know what?—to go and lobby the federal government to waive our historical debt.
This is a government that cannot balance the books. It is now crying poor and is expecting the federal government to fix the problems, to get it out of the predicament that it finds itself in. Instead of complaining about factors that are beyond this government’s control, how about focusing on the factors that it actually does control, like land supply? This is a government that is so utterly and completely out of touch with reality that it cannot even accept the figures in black and white: over 12,000 applications for 101 blocks in Whitlam; over 8,000 applications for 71 blocks in Macnamara; and over 7,000 applications for 115 blocks in Taylor. These figures do not lie.
Whilst we are on figures—I noticed that Ms Berry threw a lot of them around—out of the 4,171 blocks that this government intends to release over the next five years, let us also be clear and transparent about what those blocks mean. That is about 800 blocks a year. Twenty-five per cent have actually been allocated for detached housing. When you look at those figures, they are woefully, inadequately—and almost criminally—low. As we know from experience, the government cannot even meet those targets.
It is funny, because all members in this chamber went to great lengths to say, “Yes, there is a housing crisis; let’s all acknowledge that there’s a housing crisis.” Yet this government could not even bring itself to agree to the very first paragraph of my motion, which literally states, “The ACT is experiencing a housing crisis.” This goes to show the attitude of members opposite! They cannot even bring themselves to agree to that one paragraph. You would think that is the one thing that we all agree on, and apparently they do. But they could not bring themselves to do it.
What we heard today from all three ministers were condescending remarks, a lecture and a whinge about how: “It’s all too hard. You guys don’t understand; you just think it’s all simple and you just come up with some simple solutions.” That is absolutely disrespectful to the tens of thousands of Canberrans that have been putting their hands up, desperately hoping that they are the one in 100—the one in how many!—that might actually get access to a block.