Page 1922 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023

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Economy and Gender and Economic Equality—Standing Committee

Report 8

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (10.47): I present the following report:

Economy and Gender and Economic Equality—Standing Committee—Report 8—Inquiry into Housing and Rental Affordability, dated 22 June 2023, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

I wish to make a brief statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality relating to its inquiry into housing and rental affordability. This is the eighth report of this committee. The committee’s report makes two findings and four recommendations.

A key finding was that, due to a lack of sufficient evidence, the committee was unable to determine whether a vacancy tax would reduce the number of vacant properties in the ACT. Notwithstanding this, the committee recommends that the ACT government support a greater diversity in housing density types; consider ways to improve more public, social and affordable housing; invest in increased promotion of the affordable land tax concession scheme; and explore regulatory and policy solutions to address the impact short-term accommodation is having on long-term rental price and supply.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank everyone who participated in or assisted with the inquiry. I also thank the other members of the committee, Ms Orr and Mr Davis, and all of the committee staff who have helped out with this report over time. I commend the report to the Assembly.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (10.48): I rise to speak to the report of the Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality on housing and rental Affordability. Australia is in a housing crisis, and the ACT is not immune. This housing crisis disproportionately impacts the more than 31 per cent of Canberra households that rent. One-quarter of renters last census were in rental stress, paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

There is not a single property listed in the ACT’s private rental market that is affordable for someone on JobSeeker or a pension. Meanwhile, as of 5 June, the social housing wait list sits at 3,159 applicants. Canberra has the second highest median rent, at $674 per week, overtaken by Sydney only in the last quarter. Even for prosperous home owners, Canberra is the second most expensive city in which to purchase a house or a unit.

The ACT’s rental vacancy rate currently sits at around two per cent, while a healthy rate is considered to be at around three per cent. This does not even include properties that are intentionally left vacant. The vacancy rate only includes properties that have been advertised for rent for three weeks. It does not include newly built homes that

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