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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 893 ..

The work required to facilitate appropriate housing choices and pathways for people with disability remains critical and will require sustained effort from the NDIS and state and territory governments, in partnership with the private and not-for-profit sectors. Accessible, affordable, safe and secure housing is not just an issue for people with disability. However, it is an acute issue for people with disability, one which highlights the importance of affordable housing initiatives in cohesive and inclusive communities.

I thank Mr Pettersson for bringing this motion before us and commend Minister Berry for all that has been achieved to date and for the ongoing commitment to addressing housing affordability concerns in Canberra.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (6.15): I thank Mr Pettersson for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. This motion is concerned with one of the most fundamental needs on Maslow’s hierarchy, the need for shelter. Whether you are stuck in an insecure rental paying off someone else’s mortgage, need help purchasing your own house or you do not even have a roof over your head, our government and Labor will always work to ensure that people in our society have a safe and secure place to call home.

This is not an easy thing to do. Canberra is growing. We are growing by 7,000 people a year now. By 2030 we will need to house half a million people, so we must continue our efforts to develop housing policy to meet the needs of Canberrans and where they will live in the future.

This is challenging. Australia is facing an unprecedented housing affordability crisis, with a significant undersupply of new housing causing ballooning prices. Across Australia we are seeing an increase in the number of people without a permanent roof over their head. We see the various real estate pages praise every price increase. We see articles about the latest $1 million homes in your suburb and how you can cash in. But the jubilation these papers have for price increases ignores the real societal costs of restricting secure housing to only the richest in our society.

But there are things governments can do to make things easier for those who are struggling. Federal Labor has made a commitment to abolish the regressive forms of upper class welfare like negative gearing. ACT Labor is also working to make housing more affordable for those who need it. Those who need it include younger Canberrans. They are generally lower income Canberrans. They are Canberrans who are attempting to purchase their first property so that they can have a roof over their head.

Those who do not need the help are investors tossing up which suburb they are going to buy their 13th negatively geared property in. ACT Labor has a comprehensive plan to reduce barriers to entry for first homebuyers, such as abolishing stamp duty, a regressive tax that serves as a massive impediment to purchasing your home, particularly for younger and lower income people. It was ridiculous to see the comments made by the Leader of the Opposition in question time today on that point. He leads a party that has been totally opposed to our reforms to abolish stamp duty over the last few elections.

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