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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3509..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

give immediate relief. In doing so, it will develop appropriate targets, action and timelines and report to the Assembly on progress. The affordable housing steering group will provide advice to the government by the end of November 2006 and produce a final report by March 2007. The government looks forward to sharing the work with the Assembly and to making a genuine and positive difference to the lives of many Canberrans.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.01): In speaking to the amendment, I will also close the debate. I do appreciate the terms of the minister's amendment in that it recognises the importance of community housing in the provision of social and affordable housing across Australia and notes that the ACT government has provided substantial support to the community housing sector. I do note, though, that in recognising the importance of community housing in the ACT it is taking an historical, retrospective look at financial support to the community housing sector. There is no argument that that has, in fact, occurred.

I am disappointed that the minister did not address the actual points in my motion because there is, as I have said, concern that there is no actual policy for community housing and people would feel more secure if there were. Whilst, on the face of it, this amendment is an affirming one, if one looks deeper into it one will find that it does not actually take us much beyond where we are now.

I was sorry not to hear a response to the issue of community housing having the ability to work with the community in other ways and the role of waiving land tax or reducing land tax if that would make rents more affordable, as the community housing sector is perhaps a good sector from which that could be managed. I know of one household that bought a second house simply in order that they could provide it at a moderate rental to some people that they saw as in need. I would not be surprised if there were, in fact, that goodwill out there in our community, especially with our concerns about skill shortages and so on.

My motion was put forward in a constructive way, mostly as an historical view of what has happened in the sector, in order to try to distil where we are today. I will certainly be watching and talking to the sector over time because it is not something that is going to be easily rebuilt, but it is important that it be maintained. I do want it noted that there is not a financial aspect to my motion and that we are talking about frameworks, policies and an action plan. I am sure that everyone understands that financial constraint is required. It is more about a sense of direction than anything else.

Question put:

That Mr Hargreaves's amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 9

Noes 8

Mr Barr

Mr Hargreaves

Mrs Burke

Mr Seselja

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mrs Dunne

Mr Smyth

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Dr Foskey

Mr Stefaniak

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Gentleman

Mr Pratt

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