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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 894 ..


As a government, we are also increasing the amount of land available to people. Regions like the Molonglo Valley in my electorate, which did not really exist five years ago, currently house almost 6,000 people and will be home to over 20,000 people by 2021. This will mean that approximately 10,000 houses that did not exist will be available for our rapidly growing population.

Of course, not everyone wants to live in new suburbs or, indeed, in houses. Many people still do, but not everyone. This is why it is also excellent to see new and innovative housing types across the spectrum. We are seeing regeneration in our town centres, with more people living in the town centre cores. We are seeing densification take place in those town centres.

This is not just about removing barriers to purchase a house. We also need to ensure that there are enough houses to purchase and that they are in locations with services that people want to be close to. In 2006, flats and apartments made up 11.3 per cent of Canberra’s dwellings, below the national average of 14.2 per cent. In 2011, 12.4 per cent of Canberra dwellings were flats or apartments compared to the national rate of 13.6 per cent.

Most recently, in 2016 Canberra has overtaken the national rate of 13.1 per cent for flats and apartments, with those dwellings now making up 15 per cent of Canberra’s dwellings. This not only demonstrates the changing demand among young Canberrans for that type of housing, as more people want to live within walking distance of transport corridors and connections, employment hubs and recreational activities, rather than driving everywhere. It also shows the transformative nature of how we view ourselves as a city. Spurred on by transformational investments like light rail and an integrated transport network, we are starting to see our city’s built form change.

I certainly welcome the work that Minister Gentleman has done through the housing choices paper in this regard to start a discussion about the range and continuum of housing—from standalone dwellings right through to apartments and the discussion around the missing middle. As we build different types of housing, this does provide an entry point for people into the housing market.

According to the Domain report in 2017, median house prices in Canberra were $723,000, whereas the average price of a unit was $403,000, which is more affordable for people looking to get into the housing market. It is also positive that while house prices continue to rise around nine per cent a year, unit prices did actually slightly fall to four per cent, which is welcome news for housing affordability.

These reforms are important to make our housing system more equitable and affordable. But, of course, these reforms do not mean anything to those in our society who do not even have a roof over their head and those who are the most disadvantaged in our society. According to the 2016 census, there were 1,596 people without permanent homes across the ACT. This means that 0.4 per cent of Canberrans are in that category. In my electorate of Murrumbidgee there are 211 people without homes, 0.27 per cent of the whole electorate. While there are proportionately fewer people without homes in the ACT, the national average is currently 0.49 per cent.


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