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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3232 ..

This government is committed to ensuring that all Canberrans have access to safe, secure and affordable housing. Over the past two years our commitment has helped us to develop one of the leading plans to address the supply of affordable housing, elements of which have been supported by the federal Senate Select Committee on Housing Affordability in Australia. In August 2006 the Chief Minister set up a steering group to look at what the government can do to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Eight months later, after extensive consultation, the government released its affordable housing action plan, a plan that was widely welcomed by the community. The government’s bold plan has had the support of and was lauded by a number of key stakeholder groups including the Master Builders Association, the Housing Industry Association, the ACT Council of Social Service, ACT Shelter, and Anglicare. In fact, the ACT Council of Social Service described the plan as a smorgasbord of strategies and the Property Council of Australia called the plan “best of the breed”. The government’s plan included actions to help households achieve the dream of home ownership by increasing the supply of affordable housing. This would be achieved through an accelerated land release program.

Earlier this year the government released its indicative land release program for 2008-09 to 2012-13. Through this program over 15,000 blocks will be released to the market over the next five years. This includes the release of more than 3,400 dwelling sites this financial year, the largest residential land release program since self-government, 4,200 blocks this financial year followed by an average of 2,750 blocks in the following four years.

One of the key initiatives of the plan includes the mandate that 15 per cent of all new estates delivered by either the LDA or the private sector must include new house and land packages priced between $200,000 and $300,000. Through this initiative, new homebuyers, particularly first homebuyers, will be able to purchase their first homes as new homes at an affordable price. In fact, the Land Development Agency has partnered with a panel of builders through the new own place initiative to help deliver affordable homes under $300,000. The first of these homes in Franklin are expected to be ready to move into by Christmas.

Through the government’s plan, land is now being released in a variety of ways to the market. We now have land being developed by the Land Development Agency and sold through ballots direct to homebuyers and builders who will then sell the homes they construct direct to homebuyers. For the first time in many years, buyers can now buy land over the counter directly from the Land Development Agency.

To ensure that there is competition in land development in the territory there are now regular englobo land sales that provide the opportunity for builders to develop and construct new estates according to their plans and visions and then sell direct to the market. For instance, at the moment there is land for sale in west Macgregor, Casey and Uriarra through englobo sales. Land is also available for sale at Forde through a joint venture between private developers and the LDA. There will shortly be an auction for the englobo sale of Casey 2, which will provide 1,000 blocks to the market.

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