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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2657..

Appropriation Bill 2006-2007

[Cognate papers:

Estimates 2006-2007—Select Committee report

Estimates 2006-2007—Select Committee—report—government response]

Detail stage

Schedule 1—Appropriations

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.7—Home Loan Portfolio—nil expenditure.

Debate resumed.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.14): I will be brief in relation to the home loan portfolio. Noteworthy in this regard is that the ACT home buyer lending plan ceased in 1996. There is nothing too significant within the budget elements here. There has been improvement. As noted in the budget papers, the unbudgeted other revenue of $3.1 million in the 2005-06 estimated outcome is due to the downward revision of the provision for doubtful debts from $12.5 million to $9.4 million as a result of the overall reduction of outstanding loans. That is obviously a positive outcome.

In the context of lending, low-income people and so forth, there has been a comment in recent days that is worth putting on the record here. I refer to the comment of the Prime Minister on the weekend that the main cause of the high cost of housing in this country is the lack of supply of land. He went on to say,

Until this is faced, we're going to have this in a diminishing Australian dream for younger Australians. So the explanation is land and I hope that all state governments—

I am sure he includes territory governments—

take this to heart. They have got to stop using the development process as a means of raising revenue. They've got to release more land. It's a question of supply and demand. Nobody likes interest rate increases ...But the main cause of the unaffordability of housing for so many young people ... is the high cost of land.

Whilst we will have opportunities to revisit that issue at other stages in this debate, I think it is worth reminding ourselves that that is such a critical factor in terms of the cost to young people of entering the housing marketing here. It is interesting that in the same interview he noted that a survey only a week earlier had shown that the price of land in Sydney had risen over a 30-year period, between 1973 and 2003, by 700 per cent, yet the cost of the housing component of the package had only gone up by four per cent. Clearly, land is a crucial factor in terms of housing affordability. We are not advocating that we flood the market with wholesale releases of land in the ACT. Whilst a statement the other day showed some measure of improvement in terms of the availability, clearly this is an area which warrants the attention of governments to ensure our young people actually can have a future in Canberra and not be tenants for the rest of their lives.

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