Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1784 ..
A median price of over $400,000, an increase to date of 13 per cent, and Jon Stanhope and Katy Gallagher’s massive tax hike through change of use charge. This is not a situation on which any government should be congratulating themselves, and yet congratulation is implied in the motion from Ms Porter.
The problem for Ms Porter and for the Labor government is that there is no mention of the history of land release policy in the ACT, the legacy of which is seen in the numbers I have just presented. Let us go on and consider a report, also in the Financial Review from last week. This report, on 28 April 2010, analyses the housing deficit in Australia. Nationally there was a housing deficit of 178,000 dwellings at June 2009. This deficit was forecast by the National Housing Supply Council to grow to 200,000 by 2010, more than 300,000 in 2014, and more than 600,000 by 2029. This is a staggering deficit in the supply of dwellings across Australia over the next 20 years. And according to the National Housing Supply Council in June 2009, the ACT faced a deficit of 5,000 dwellings. While the details are not provided for individual jurisdictions beyond that point, the clear implication from the national analysis is that this deficit will continue to grow.
It is in this context that we need to consider the motion from Ms Porter. And the context is clear. It is the context of poor public policy relating to the release of land. Pent-up demand continues to be unsatisfied, despite the response of this government. Poor public policy in regard to fees and charges and poor public policy in relation to the application of the massive increases in the change of use charge continue.
This is not a time for congratulation, Ms Porter. It is a time for your government to acknowledge that your tardiness in releasing land has added to the pressure on prices, prices which even for units are now racing out of sight of the first homeowner and people on lower incomes. But I suppose, as always, your government is not concerned about these people. As if this situation was not bad enough, we now have rises in the interest rate and we now have rises in taxes in this budget.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (3.50): First of all, I will start by saying that we will not be supporting Mr Seselja’s amendment to Ms Porter’s motion. There are some ideas in there and if they had actually come and had that consultation and had a discussion with us earlier, we may have been able to work through some of those issues; but not when it is dropped on us at the last minute and when there seems to be some conjecture in there. We are not even clear about the particular reports that are being referred to, as there are no dates on these reports. They would have been some of the issues we would have talked through if we had been given notice of this amendment. So we will not be supporting that.
Ms Porter’s motion sets out a series of facts. The underlying premise, it appears, is that the ACT government is doing a good job at managing the economy and that the land release policy is positive for the ACT. Firstly, it must be said that, according to all the traditional indicators, we are doing very well. State final demand is strong and we assume, given that quarterly figures are unavailable, that gross state product is also growing. We have low unemployment, a strong housing and construction industry and relatively strong business confidence. We have an improved budget position from where we thought we would be this time last year and things generally seem to be rolling along quite smoothly.