Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2489 ..
It is something people in the community housing sector can see as one part of the complex jigsaw to address housing affordability here in the ACT. Because it is complex; there is no one magic bullet. If it were easy it would have been done long before now. But what is also the truth is that the government’s policies over the past 15 and more years have contributed towards housing unaffordability.
This one small measure today from Ms Le Couteur could have been a little drop in the ocean towards addressing the affliction that many in our community face every day: housing affordability, whether as a buyer or a renter but, in this case, more about renting. Despite Mr Parton feeling he had a form of agreement with the Greens about who might support the motion, the Greens knew what the government might be proposing and once more have acted as part of the government by backing up the government amendment. This is what we see time after time: not a crossbench in the true sense but acting as the government. Sadly, that is what has happened today.
The amended motion has some good elements to it, and I for one very much look forward to what the government is going to come out with in the report after the engagement that has been ongoing for quite some time. I am cautiously optimistic—not necessarily confident—that at long last something might take place where this government will help to use the policy levers they have to address housing affordability, of course supported by the Greens, who are absolutely in lock step with the government as part of the government. That has been demonstrated once again today.
On our side of the chamber we are always surprised about that and, in some ways, I am surprised that we are surprised, because it is a pattern of behaviour that happens over and over again, even when we feel that we have some agreement. There were some excellent points in the original motion. Once again, the government has worked in collusion, in lock step, with the Greens to get through a slightly watered down version which does not commit to the action called for in the original motion. I suspect Ms Le Couteur knew all along that that is what was going to take place.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (11.07): What we have got to is an improvement on my original motion, which called upon the ACT government to consider a range of things, whereas the amended motion talks about investigating incentives and is much clearer about what has to be reported back. I know this is potentially just semantics and, as I said earlier, I am very thankful for the support on this of the Liberal Party and, in particular, the housing spokesperson. I regret the process we have been through over the past couple of days where there was a considerable amount of poor communication.
But the positive thing is that it is very clear that all three parties in the Assembly think that changes in land tax to enable affordable housing are a good idea. Thus, we can be confident that this will be implemented very soon. I hope that the implementation plan that comes back from the government in October will be fairly forthright. I understand that this will be quite an easy thing to do; I do not think it needs legislative change. It could probably just be a disallowable instrument. It will have to be moved, I believe, by the Treasurer to change the rules for the land tax, but it will be very simple to do.