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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 May 2007) . . Page.. 731 ..

These are serious issues. It is a serious matter. The public have a right to be assured that public moneys are only used appropriately, consistent with rules and guidelines. I have sought those assurances.

Affordable housing action plan

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Chief Minister. Would you please outline for the Assembly the steps the ACT Labor government is taking to ensure safe, secure, appropriate and affordable housing for all Canberrans and detail the major initiatives in the recently announced affordable housing action plan?

MR STANHOPE: I am very happy to outline for members of the Assembly the strategy adopted and developed, which has subsequently been adopted by the ACT government, on housing affordability and the government’s commitment to implement that particular report. This is a very good piece of work by ACT government officials, with some assistance from external consultants, certainly.

This was a project driven by a proper cross-government group of officials which, I believe, was rigorous, expansive and visionary and involved some quite significant lateral and creative thinking by ACT government officials. At the end of the day, it resulted in the development of an excellent report which, as I say, we have accepted and implemented and which I believe, over time, will have a significant effect on our capacity to stabilise house and land prices within the Australian Capital Territory and will, over time, have a significant effect on housing affordability.

As we are all aware, we have had, over the last five or six years, very significant increases in the price of both land and houses within the ACT and around Australia. This is a national issue which has affected every major city in Australia. The ACT has not been exempt from that particular effect over the last six or seven years. It was in about 2000 that prices of land, particularly, and then houses began to increase exponentially, to the point where house prices more than doubled in the last five or six years, as has the price of land.

The key initiatives in the plan involve increasing the supply of affordable land to the market; regular en globo land sales; over-the-counter sales of affordable housing blocks; new house and land packages priced between $200,000 and $300,000; a major expansion of community housing that would deliver an additional 480 affordable dwellings over five years and up to 1,000 over 10 years; an initiative, through institutional investors, to increase the supply of private rental dwellings by 200 to 400 homes in the first instance; land rent and shared equity schemes, including for public and community housing tenants; and targeted stamp duty concessions.

The steering group’s report and the subsequent action plan which I mentioned were developed following extensive discussion and consultation with community organisations, industry groups and other stakeholders. The action plan builds upon a range of existing initiatives such as the allocation of additional funding to public housing in the last ACT budget, coupled with recent announcements to increase the supply of land through the release of an additional 500 blocks at west Macgregor, taking the total release in 2006-07 to 2,800 blocks.

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