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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 18 August 2011) . . Page.. 3525 ..

stabilising. That has allowed incomes to catch up. We have seen wage growth in the territory in the last three or four years and that certainly has had an impact on housing affordability, together with some specialised product offerings that have been targeted at those who are on below average incomes. So the combination of all of those policy settings has made a difference. But clearly the most important thing for us to continue to do is to pursue supply-side solutions.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what steps has the government taken to look at the bottom 40 per cent of income earners and find out what percentage of them are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, and what have you found from those investigations?

MR BARR: I understand that there is considerable analysis underway in relation to the areas of work that Ms Bresnan has identified. Again, one would need to be careful in making absolute assessments in this area because, depending on circumstances within individual households and decisions that are taken, people even on lower incomes do retain the capacity to expend more than 30 per cent, by choice, of their income on a particular housing option. There is nothing to preclude you as an individual from deciding to spend more of your discretionary income or more of your income on housing to the exclusion of a number of other discretionary spending items.

That said, the issue, and the point of Ms Bresnan’s question, really goes to those who do not have that discretion. Certainly, it is important to offer product that does enable those people to get into more affordable housing. But I do need to stress that there are some in the marketplace, regardless of their income level, who will choose to invest more of their income in housing, and that is their choice. If it is possible to exclude those who make that discretionary choice, you would get a better analysis of the level of need within the community.

MS PORTER: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what consideration has the government given to other options for affordable housing for Canberrans?

MR BARR: Contained within the housing affordability strategy are approaching 60 different policy options that have been pursued. Amongst that suite of policy options have been things like shared equity, land rent, the OwnPlace scheme, our affordable housing requirements within new estates but, most importantly, the continuation of supply side—

Mr Coe: Release more land.

MR BARR: solutions is critical. That means keeping pace with the demand for housing and, in fact, seeking to exceed that demand so as to ensure that there is downward pressure on land prices, as Mr Coe has so helpfully interjected just a moment ago. Indeed, those are considerable factors that need to be considered. Also,

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