Page 1010 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2023

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We have made our policy position clear: a minimum $5 billion invested in social and affordable housing every year, indexed to inflation, and removing that $500 million cap; a national plan for renters, including the Prime Minister putting a national rental freeze on rental increases on the national cabinet agenda, and an immediate doubling of commonwealth rent assistance in the forthcoming budget; a $1 billion investment in remote Aboriginal housing; and an assurance that all houses through the future fund should meet minimum inclusive design standards. All of this is possible if we do not give tax cuts to the billionaires and if we do not buy big nuclear submarines. If we want to turn this Assembly into a debate about federal policy, I am happy to have that debate.

Mr Parton: I don’t think China’s a problem.

MR DAVIS: Mr Parton, I will give federal Labor this: we are way away from where we need to be, but it is interesting to see something for the first time in 10 years on housing—something. One of my proudest moments in this place was getting you guys to make policy on the go and to back the Chief Minister’s advocacy to the federal government to see the abolition of the ACT’s historic housing debt. That was not a position the Canberra Liberals had until a substantive motion was brought to this Assembly by me to get that on the record, and now we have got the whole—

Mr Parton: You did that? Right!

MR DAVIS: It forced a conversation that you had not been having for many years, Mr Parton. It forced your hand, and I am pleased that I did that. I know it makes you uncomfortable that that was not your policy position prior, but I am glad that we got the chance to have that debate.

Mr Parton: You’re amazing!

Mr Barr: There you go! Put that on your corflute.

MR DAVIS: I appreciate that we are all having a giggle, Madam Speaker. You know better than most that I like to be the joker in this place. I want any person listening to be assured that, while I do not take myself very seriously—as is evidenced by my contributions to this place—I take this policy very seriously.

That is why I wanted an Assembly committee to look at it. That did not happen. It is why I wanted an Assembly committee to look at the vacancy tax. It is why I am proud to advocate and commend the Deputy Chief Minister publicly—even if there are those in my political party who will grimace when I do it—because I actually think good work is happening. Let’s continue to do that work. Let’s wait for the government’s response to this motion in November.

I have made it clear now, publicly, what I am expecting as a bare minimum. I think it is the bare minimum. Hopefully, the government, through its analysis and policy work and through continued collaboration, demonstrated perfectly by Ministers Berry and Vassarotti—a trip up to the hill no doubt is coming soon!—can actually get a little bit of reform for a part of the market that is a bit perverse at the moment.

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