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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3327 ..


within the budget of low income earners. How is that for a socially progressive city? How is that for a government that claims to be about social justice? No properties reviewed were within the budget of low income earners. None. There are no private properties in Canberra within the budget of low income earners. That is what you get for 17 years of Labor. That is what you get with a Labor-Greens coalition—no properties available for low income earners, according to Anglicare.

It is an extraordinary failure of this government. It is all very well to talk about these grandiose schemes designed to save the world, but how about saving those in the lowest quintile in Canberra? How about saving the livelihoods of people really doing it tough in this city? It is no wonder that former treasury official Dr Khalid Ahmed described the ACT government Suburban Land Agency’s policy as classic monopolistic behaviour designed to maximise revenue.

If any organisation is putting profit before people it is the ACT Labor government with regard to their housing policy. It is a housing policy that means there are no properties in the ACT within the budget of low income earners all because this government cannot manage its budget and it looks to squeeze first homebuyers even more through the sale of land.

In this year’s budget the Suburban Land Agency has profit margin targets at 41 per cent. Dr Khalid Ahmed states that most land developers operate on potential profit margins of only 10 to 15 per cent, but here you have the Suburban Land Agency at 41 per cent. If you listen to the Labor Party’s rhetoric, it is the other way around—it is the private developers that are screwing people. No, it is this government. It is this Labor government that is putting profit before people.

In Gungahlin we have blocks of land that are about $1,000 a square metre. Just a few decades ago it would be absolutely unheard of to have even purchased a 400-square-metre block, let alone a 400-square-metre-block and paid $400,000 for it. There is no doubt in my mind that the majority of Canberrans want to purchase freestanding homes. Obviously demand is exceeding supply; that is why the price keeps going up—there is more demand.

It is all very well for Ms Le Couteur to say that she is not convinced, but if she was not convinced by Mr Parton’s statement she should be convinced by the fact that the prices keep going up. Demand is exceeding supply; there is no doubt about it. And it is only Labor government coffers gaining from this policy.

What does the government do with all this money? So much of it gets squandered in their dodgy deals: it gets squandered on purchasing rural leases; it gets squandered on purchasing a block of land next to Glebe Park; it gets squandered on paying top dollar for businesses and leases and licences next to the lake; and it gets squandered on the Dickson land swap, a terrible deal in everyone’s book.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (4.18): Canberra has long been known as the bush capital, and it is a name we celebrate today, even if originally it was a derogatory term for Canberra, as the anti-bush capital movement derided the idea of a national capital outside of a major city. In our defence, one senator was quoted as saying:


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