Page 441 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022
There was talk about, “You don’t understand. Don’t you realise that we need infrastructure and the protection of our local environment?” That is a given. Any local government that has responsibility for having development will take those factors into consideration. Why? Because we are a great and beautiful city. Our people expect nothing else. That is a given.
With respect to Minister Gentleman, I do not even know where to go, in responding to his work of fiction. But to say that we have not even thought about these considerations is actually laughable. This is how out of touch these ministers are with the reality.
Everyone talked about choice. “It’s about choice.” Let us ask the tens of thousands of Canberrans. Is it a choice when you are one of 12,000 bidding for one of 100 blocks? Is it a choice when you are one of 8,000 bidding for one of 71 blocks? Is it a choice when you are one of 7,000 bidding for 115 blocks? That is not a choice, and this government should be ashamed of itself for even contemplating saying that that is a choice. Deliberately strangling land supply, resulting in tens of thousands of Canberrans bidding for the meagre blocks that are available, driving up the prices, and then saying, “Yes, it’s a choice,” is so incredibly disrespectful to our community.
This is a government that is so utterly and completely out of touch with reality that it cannot even acknowledge the magnitude of the problem that we have. Only last week, in an address to a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event, the Chief Minister said—and I know Mrs Kikkert referred to this, but I have to say it again:
It’s pretty clear if you’re on a high income, housing affordability is not an issue in Canberra.
“Not an issue in Canberra.” The qualifier here, of course, being “if you’re on a high income”. Is this not the Chief Minister lecturing to Canberrans, “Hey, just get a better job”? It is so arrogant, and this type of arrogance and out-of-touch comment could only be topped by the Chief Minister during annual reports hearings, when he basically shrugged and said that businesses should just pay staff more. These are businesses who, especially for the last two years, have had to remortgage their own homes to keep their doors open and to keep staff employed.
Talk about arrogance; talk about being out of touch. And it is this kind of attitude from the head of this government that has resulted in policies that see tens of thousands of Canberrans lining up for those meagre allocations of blocks.
Of course, perhaps the only other explanation is that he is heartless and he does not care about the Canberrans who actually want to dream of owning their own home. Perhaps it is a reality that this policy is driven, of course, by the Greens and by Labor’s desire to keep their political partner happy, as opposed to serving the needs and wants of the Canberra community.
The ACT government does not control all levers but it does control some. I have acknowledged numerous times that this will not be a miracle fix overnight and that there are many complex factors that go into housing affordability. But for ministers in