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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1792 ..


at the beginning of this, before lunch, everyone was asleep over there—in fact not only asleep but absent.

I note that Ms Le Couteur says that the Greens will support the motion and not the amendment and largely because what I have outlined is, in fact, fact. Yes, it is fact, and the fact is that we have behaved in a very strong way over the last two years. It is fact that the ACT comes out on top in the area of housing finance. It is fact that in the area of dwelling commencements we are a staggering 85 per cent above the decade average. It is a fact that the ACT economy is being driven by solid housing and broader construction activity and in the case of housing starts this is being driven by the ACT’s increased release of land.

Indeed, it is true that two of the most respectable economic research organisations in the country both believe that one of the reasons why the ACT economy is so strong is its land release policy. And there is no coincidence that these outcomes have coincided with the implementation in 2007 of the very innovative affordable housing action plan.

I will go to some of Ms Le Couteur’s comments first. Whilst I understand the point that she was trying to make with respect to housing affordability—that a strong average income will push the price of houses up which renders them affordable to many but decidedly expensive for a few who may not be in full-time employment or who are studying or who are limited in their work capacity due to a disability or the like—as I said earlier, we are addressing the situation and the Chief Minister went to this at some length.

I would just like to reiterate two excellent programs: the OwnPlace initiative, which is delivering 15 per cent affordable housing in new estates, and the land rent scheme as examples. You have heard, as I said, from the Chief Minister that we take this matter of housing affordability very seriously and we are stepping up to meet that challenge.

I also understand Ms Le Couteur has concerns about the progress of the clean economy strategy. I understand this project has now been transferred from business and industry development to policy division within the Chief Minister’s Department in recognition of the need for a whole-of-government approach. I would like, therefore, to reassure Ms Le Couteur that we are treating this matter with the seriousness that it deserves and agree that it could potentially provide another piece in the jigsaw puzzle.

I also thank Ms Hunter for her remarks on all aspects of this policy and in particular her remarks before in regard to the way forward in implementing this policy and the factors that we must, in fact, take into consideration.

Mr Seselja could not help himself before. He tries to undermine and refute these excellent reports, as do Mr Smyth and Mr Hanson—these excellent reports, these excellent figures and the performance of the government. Out comes the draft that he spent hours slaving over last night. It is not the first time I have seen this draft, of course; I saw it at the breakfast—and I was not impressed then and I am not impressed now. He talks about the announcement of forward land releases as though


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