Page 3430 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 October 2022

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MADAM SPEAKER: It was in the context of ACT funding. Given that there is a point of order, I remind everybody: no noise. No interjections while somebody is on their feet. Mr Barr, do you have anything to add?

MR BARR: I have answered the question, Madam Speaker.

MR CAIN: Chief Minister, do you accept that it was your decision to provide significantly less health funding than the national average, which has resulted in health being the biggest public policy challenge we face?

MR BARR: No. The reason that we have a public policy challenge is the result of chronic underinvestment in the primary healthcare system that has been a commonwealth responsibility. The second biggest factor was the cuts to hospital funding by the Abbott and Hockey government in that 2014 budget. Malcolm Turnbull had to come back and repair part of that. He did half of it. The commonwealth lifted its share from 40 to 45 per cent, but it is still short of the 50 per cent funding that used to be provided by the commonwealth. Ultimately, this issue confronts every state and territory. But if the commonwealth is not prepared to invest in primary health care the costs then fall, in a more expensive way, on the hospital system. That is why the argument is there for more commonwealth investment in their principal area of responsibility: primary health care.

Housing—build-to-rent scheme

MS ORR: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Chief Minister, why did the ACT government release a build-to-rent prospectus?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Orr for the question.

Mr Hanson: Because you have broken the system.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, you will be warned.

MR BARR: The prospectus was designed to help encourage more private investment in large-scale build to rent. We are looking to significantly boost the supply of long-term rentals. These projects are multi-unit developments, where residential dwellings are retained by one owner and rented out long term. The build-to-rent model has the potential to provide long-lasting community benefits, with greater housing choice for tenants, by expanding access to high-quality, purpose-built dwellings in a stable rental environment.

A range of financial incentives will be considered for projects that include at least 15 per cent affordable rentals, including a lease variation charge discount and support for community housing, build-to-rent projects, land tax concessions and progressing build-to-rent projects on government owned land release sites such as the one on Northbourne Avenue that was released to market earlier. Also, the government will consider ongoing direct subsidies. The government is also considering what planning changes might be necessary to encourage appropriate build-to-rent development across the territory.

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