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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4805 ..


appropriate housing and the cost of other essential living costs to be met by the household, such as food and household goods, transport, education and health care.

I also wish to draw on the work undertaken by ACTCOSS and ACT Shelter specifically from their 2006 report, The wealth of home, which provides a very strong discussion of the issues of terminology and measures. The report noted that we should not use just one definition for “affordable housing”; rather, we should use a series of concepts and measures in unison, for any one measure by itself cannot capture the diverse nature of what constitutes affordable housing.

The wealth of home also suggests that measures of affordable housing should be changed so that they are based more on who needs to receive affordable housing. That will mean that we apply tests of affordability to those people who are in the most housing stress, nominally people who earn below the median income.

Looking at work undertaken by AHURI and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, they have used the 34-40 principle, which focuses on those households spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing while earning in the bottom 40 per cent of the income range. Work by NATSEM using such principles shows that housing stress is hitting people in Australia disproportionately. It is most affecting those who earn a low income, the unemployed, sole-parent families, first homebuyers and young people.

NATSEM notes that young people and first homebuyers have a long-term potential to work themselves out of housing stress. The AHURI report entitled Approaches to evaluation of affordable housing initiatives in Australia notes that the use of evaluation processes remain undeveloped in Australia with regard to housing and that there is a tendency to avoid evaluation of major programs. This carries some weight when we look at the ACT example, because all too often we will see reports that focus on managerial site outputs and supply measures but not on outcomes which focused on demand.

In closing, I hope the government and opposition will support my motion—although it does not seem that is going to happen—as what I am asking for is not just about language and calculation but, most essentially, evidence-based policy. If we do not develop and use an accurate definition of what is affordable housing, then we will not get the type of plan that is needed for the Canberra community, and a significant proportion of the population will be left out of the debate.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (8:21): The government welcomes the opportunity to debate affordable housing in the Assembly this evening. Indeed, Ms Bresnan, whilst the government will be opposing this motion tonight, we are not opposing the sentiment of the motion. We could not agree with some of the wording in the motion, and efforts have been made today to try and reconcile those differences—without success, as is going to happen in this place from time to time. We have a pretty good rate of agreement around amendments most of the time, but today that was not to be delivered. But the government accepts what you are asking it to do in your motion and will consider it as part of the review.


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