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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2130..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

In the ACT we have a home loan affordability rate of 18.8 per cent as compared with 35.4 per cent in New South Wales, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia. The property council today would have us believe that there is going to be this rush of people from Canberra to Sydney but they cannot afford to live in Canberra. What arrant nonsense that is.

Business-commercial rates

MR MULCAHY: My question without notice is directed to the Treasurer. The Property Council of Australia reported that a large number of Canberra businesses are facing rates bills up to 60 per cent higher than last year. Treasurer, do you dispute that figure? If so, how large do you believe the increase for Canberra businesses will be?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the shadow treasurer for his question. In the context of the comments I was making earlier about the property council, I will check Mr Mulcahy's claims that he relayed to the government on behalf of the property council about the quantity of rate increases. I make that comment further to the comment that I made earlier. Today I read in the Canberra Times that the property council insisted there would be a rush of potential employees to Sydney because of affordability issues in the ACT residential market.

The property council of the ACT is again talking down opportunities in the ACT. The property council is again acting against the interests of its own members. Twice in the last week Catherine Carter, in relation to commercial activity, and today Chris Wheeler, suggested there would be a rush of commercial providers and Commonwealth government departments to Sydney and to Melbourne because of issues relating to the availability of commercial land.

Six months ago I do not think I could count the number of members of the property council who came to me and almost begged me to ensure that no more land would be released commercially.

Mr Corbell: Yes.

MR STANHOPE: The Minister for Planning had the same experience. Members of the property council made representations to me about established buildings and existing clients who were a little concerned about competition. They knocked on our doors and said, "We'll all be rooned. There will be 15 per cent vacancies. For goodness sake, don't release any more land."Those were the representations we had from members of the property council six months ago.

Mr Mulcahy: Point of order. My question to the Chief Minister, which he has obviously forgotten, related to whether or not rates bills were likely to be going up by 60 per cent, as indicated in the property council's statement. I listened attentively to what the Chief Minister said and he has not remotely addressed that matter in the first two minutes of his reply. Could he be brought back to the question?

MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister has five minutes.

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