Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2022) . . Page.. 948 ..
This is a very worthy motion. Canberrans who have been lining up for ballots, Canberrans who have been waiting and saving up for their housing choice, will be very pleased to see this motion being brought to this Assembly. I totally reject the minister’s amendment to it.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (3.49): I thank Ms Lee for bringing this very important motion before the Assembly. To quote Aussie band Men at Work, Australia has for many decades been the land of plenty. For many of us, and especially those born here, the sight of empty shelves at the supermarket over the past two years has been an important reminder of just how lucky we are to live in a nation generally characterised by enviable levels of peace, stability and prosperity. Mercifully, food shortages have mostly been temporary. In some cases, they have been unavoidable, caused, for example, by disruptions to production or supply chains. In other cases, shortages have been completely unnecessary, caused by irrational behaviour such as the hoarding of toilet paper.
Here in Canberra we are currently experiencing another kind of completely avoidable shortage, one that has already been allowed to go on too long and which is similarly created by irrational and even irresponsible behaviour. This is the shortage of housing choices. I wish to review five facts. Fact 1: in the ACT the government holds monopoly control over the release of land for new homes.
Fact 2: the ACT government’s current indicative land release program dictates that approximately 70 per cent of the land for new housing over the next five years will be for high-density dwellings—in other words, apartment blocks.
Fact 3: according to the government’s own Winton report from May 2015, this land release does not match demand. As one can clearly see in chart B of the report, only 7.3 per cent of Canberrans at the time of the survey expressed a desire to live in an apartment. To emphasise, that is 7.3 per cent who wish to live in high-density housing, not 70 per cent. Dictating that the supply of apartments in the territory will be 10 times greater than established demand is absurd. The only explanation is that Labor and the Greens unitedly believe it is their job to control both where and how people will live.
Fact 4: when supply does not meet demand, prices rise. As stated in the government’s own budget review last month, if demand for land is higher than supply, prices go up. The only solution, assuming the government wants a solution, is to increase supply. The expert advice from the ACT Treasury underscores just how ridiculous Mr Barr sounded during recent annual reports hearings when he argued that his government’s land release program has little impact on the territory’s overall house prices, claiming that the program “has influence on the price of housing only in the areas in which land is released”. I understand that Mr Barr studied both economics and economic history at the ANU, but that was nearly 30 years ago. Perhaps it is time for a refresher course on the basics of supply and demand.
Fact 5: it is entirely within the power of the current ACT government to alter its land release program to better align land supply with demand. This motion calls on the