Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 153 ..
recurrent cost of any state. Only the Northern Territory exceeds that. I think we would all understand the Northern Territory has some particularly unique issues that we do not necessarily face in the ACT to the same extent.
That $7,736 is $1,370 above the Australian average. The Australian average is $6,366 and here we have $7,736. There is a difference of $1,370. When you consider that, as of the last budget, we had 11,700 dwellings in the ACT, if you times that by $1,370, the cost per dwelling, we in the ACT are paying $16 million per year because we are not meeting the national average. And that national average includes the Northern Territory, which is more than double what the national average is. You have got an outlier there which is distorting the figures quite significantly. So if we were to deliver the national average, including the outlier of the Northern Territory, we would save $16 million in public housing.
We heard Ms Bresnan earlier talk about what would happen if we did not provide public housing, and she gave three or four different scenarios. What we can say categorically, rather than looking at hypotheticals about what would happen if we did not do something, is: how about we look at what is happening because of what we are doing? The fact is that we are driving people into public housing because we do not have enough housing in the ACT, and the housing we do have is too expensive. They are the real issues. It is not a matter of saying what would happen if we did not do public housing. It is what would happen if we did all the housing in the ACT properly and did not drive people into public housing in the first place.
We have the highest average of public housing houses in the country, about 8½ per cent. And we heard last year that the Greens want to increase that to 10 per cent. Rather than necessarily increasing public housing stock by 1½ per cent, why do we not increase all housing in the ACT by that percentage or whatever percentage may well be appropriate? I think if we increase the housing stock in the ACT, if we have a good, stable land release strategy, what we are going to have is more houses and people will not need to go to the public housing in the first place.
It is interesting that those opposite, the Greens and Labor, both have this socialist utopia whereby public housing is the only answer for our housing woes. I do not accept that. I do not accept Ms Burch’s or Ms Bresnan’s rationale that the socialist answer is the right answer. What I think is the right answer is to avoid the problem before it actually occurs. A bit of prevention would not go astray. What I think we need is to make sure we have a good, stable land release strategy, a good strategy for housing affordability, so that people do not get forced into public housing in the first place. We know that for every person that goes into public housing, we have $7,736 of taxpayers’ dollars which need to go into it to subsidise it. Would it not be better if that problem did not arise in the first place?
Yet if you have a socialist world view, you would not agree with that. You would not agree with that because you would only say that increasing public housing stock as a percentage is the answer. And really what it comes down to is why the Labor Party do not want to deal with community housing providers—because they want a bigger empire. They want a bigger empire in Housing ACT that is controlled and managed by the ACT government. That is what they want. They do not like the idea that the