Page 940 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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The Labor-Greens solution to the housing crisis is to make high-rise apartments the only realistic option for many Canberra families. But we have clear evidence that Canberrans want choice when it comes to housing. Whether it be a detached house, a townhouse, a dual occupancy or an apartment, we know that they want choice.

It is also clear that Canberrans love the great bush capital and want the opportunity of having some green space to call their own. The Winton report of 2015 found that over 70 per cent of Canberrans want fewer apartment blocks of four or more storeys and dual occupancies and townhouses. The same report showed 85 per cent of Canberrans would like to live in a detached house and only 1.7 per cent of Canberrans wanted to live in an apartment block of more than three storeys.

The Labor-Greens government know this; yet, by deliberately strangling land supply, by deliberately tying themselves to an infill policy that is designed to drive Canberrans into high-rise apartments, they are restricting choice and restricting Canberrans from living in the dwelling types that they know Canberrans want.

The Labor-Greens government’s Indicative Land Release Program for the next five years shows that 70 per cent of the new land release will be for high-density housing. That is a planned 11,381 high-density dwellings. For the remainder, 25 per cent of the planned land release will be for 4,171 detached houses and just five per cent or 882 medium-density dwellings. But the Labor-Greens government knows that a tiny fraction, 1.7 per cent of Canberrans, want to live in a high-rise apartment tower.

To recap, 70 per cent of the new housing to be delivered under Labor and the Greens will be high-rise apartment buildings, despite the government’s own report saying that just 1.7 per cent of Canberrans actually want to live in that type of dwelling.

The question we have to ask is: why? Why does this Labor-Greens government continue to fail Canberrans on housing and deliver the exact opposite of what Canberrans want and need? The answer is simple: this Labor-Greens government is completely and utterly out of touch. It is out of touch with what our community’s needs and wants are, and out of touch with the reality of the housing crisis that we are currently experiencing.

They do not listen to Canberrans when it does not suit them, whether it is on sky-high rates, the shocking violence that we are seeing in our schools and health facilities, or the government’s infill agenda.

More recently, we have seen land ballots in the suburbs of Whitlam, Macnamara and Taylor, where tens of thousands of Canberrans have desperately bid for the meagre number of blocks on offer. The stats are staggering and equate to having up to 123 people competing for a single block of land. The numbers do not lie; there is clearly an overwhelming demand for detached houses in Canberra.

There is also a strong market for medium-density housing, but this Labor-Greens government is steadfast in its refusal to acknowledge it. Instead—and let us say it again—70 per cent of new housing will be high-rise apartment towers that only 1.7 per cent of Canberrans actually want to live in.

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