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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 May 1993) . . Page.. 1496 ..

Housing Market Trends

MRS GRASSBY: My question is addressed to the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. Can the Minister forecast the state of the housing market in the ACT, and how strong are the trends compared to other States?

MR WOOD: Madam Speaker, members would not be surprised that in the current year the trends in the housing market are very strong. This comes from two factors. First of all, it is noticeable that from the day after the Federal election house and land sales have picked up. I had some figures from one real estate agent that indicated that on the day of the Federal election, the Saturday, some four properties were sold. The same agent sold 20 on the Sunday, when it was known that Hewson was not going to be the Prime Minister of Australia and that Keating would continue. That is one reason, I believe, that the current rate is pretty high.

Secondly, it is unquestionably a reflection of the reduced interest rates that make it possible for more people to move into their own homes. My figures indicate that 3,950 housing commencements will be made in the 1992-93 year. Next year that will settle somewhat - and it is probably a good thing that it should settle - from that very high figure back to about 3,200. In the 1991-92 year the figure was also at a pretty high level, at 3,560, although in 1990-91, going back a further year, there were just over 2,000 commencements.

The industry does fluctuate. I would certainly prefer to see commencments settle at a fairly constant level. Our population growth has been at a constant level. If we could get that same constancy reflected in our housing demand, I think it would be beneficial to the industry. But all the signs are that the housing industry is going to be again helpful to our economy in the coming year.

Audit Legislation

MR KAINE: I direct a question to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to the Audit (Amendment) Bill that she tabled on 25 March. When tabling it she said, amongst other things, that the amendments inherent in this Bill "relate to the use of certain financial transactions known as derivatives which provide fund managers with an agreed future price for the buying and selling of securities". After I had had a briefing session with some Treasury officials, they came out only last week with a revised and additional background explanatory statement that expands upon section 33F of the Audit Act. It says that the main types of derivatives include interest rate swaps, forward rate agreements, futures and options. Could the Chief Minister tell us how an interest rate futures contract works and how an interest rate swap option works, and how they work to the benefit of our investment in a superannuation fund?

Mr Berry: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Does this anticipate debate on the Bill? Is the Bill still before the house?

Mr Kaine: I am entitled to seek information from the Treasurer, Minister.

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