Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 18 August 2011) . . Page.. 3524 ..
MR SPEAKER: To be honest, I do not understand the interjection and so I do not think I can ask for its withdrawal. Mr Corbell, you have a short amount of time remaining.
MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I simply draw the attention of those opposite to the fact that I did not sack Mr Buchanan. He was not sacked, and if they continue to insist that I sack Mr Buchanan they should be liable for the claims that they make. (Time expired.)
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development and is about affordable housing. Minister, on Tuesday in question time you were asked about how the affordable housing strategy was performing and you outlined a number of measurements to say that the strategy was performing well. In fact, you said that using the Real Estate Institute of Australia’s housing affordability index the ACT is the most affordable jurisdiction in which to own or rent a property. Minister, is that index somewhat unrepresentative of the ACT market, given that it looks at the average and people on low incomes are impacted more in the ACT because of high average incomes and prices?
MR BARR: I do not know that I can accept the fullness of Ms Bresnan’s analysis but I will certainly acknowledge that elements of that particular index do reflect higher incomes within the territory. So to the extent that it is not broken down into a number of different market segments, I can accept at least some elements of her analysis, but I still think that in the context of making a statement in relation to affordability more broadly across the territory, my statements on Tuesday are fair and reasonable.
But I do acknowledge that depending on your economic circumstance and whether you fall below the average income within the territory, a higher proportion of your income would therefore be required to meet your housing needs. It is for that reason that the government put in place a range of innovative mechanisms within the housing affordability strategy to provide affordable product for people at different points within the housing market.
I think that even those who criticise some of the particular policy options that were taken would still acknowledge though that they were targeted at different elements of the housing market, be it those who can afford up to 74.9 per cent of market rent to those who might in fact be in full-time employment but need some assistance in order to access the housing market, particularly for the first time.
There are I think a range of policy options that are available to government. I think the most significant one, and this I think has been borne out now in terms of the totality of the housing market in the ACT, has been our supply-side response. A series of measures that have fuelled demand have not in fact improved affordability but have hindered it. So what is required is a dedicated long-term supply-side response.
The government has been delivering on that and you are starting to see across various market segments within the ACT real estate market prices either falling marginally or