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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3333 ..

There were a couple of recommendations relating to heritage in the estimates committee report and the government response, including one about the Apollo 11 anniversary, one about the accountability indicators. I continue to struggle with those accountability indicators. I do not believe they adequately reflect the work that the Heritage Council undertake. It would be good if more meaningful indicators were included.

There is also a recommendation about the National Trust. The National Trust ACT does not get funded, despite the government funding a whole lot of other organisations. It is one of those things where, if you like, you keep your enemies poor so that it is much more difficult for them to do their work. I commend the people in the National Trust ACT for the work that they do and again encourage the government to continue to work collaboratively with the National Trust ACT. I thank them for their work. In a general sense, we all acknowledge the importance of preserving and acknowledging our heritage, whether that is in the natural environment, in the built sense, in a cultural sense or in other ways.

Before I finish, I want to make a few quick remarks about land release and housing affordability. It is something I have been very interested in for some time. My interest in making a comment on that extends largely from acknowledging and agreeing with the comments made by my colleague Mr Coe about the price of land. If you look historically at how much it costs to purchase a house, you can see that it is not in the products or the materials to build the house: the largest increase has been in the price of land.

It is this government’s policies which are feeding into that. Everyone acknowledges the importance of affordable housing in the ACT and that we need to do something to rectify it. I have pulled up a speech that I gave in 2014, four years ago. Again I encourage you to reflect on what Mr Coe has just said about the Anglicare national rental affordability snapshot, which this year indicated that there were no houses in the ACT that were affordable to someone on a low income. What I wrote in 2014 strikes a chord with me. Four years ago I said: “The Anglicare national rental affordability snapshot 2014 made it abundantly clear in the statement that there were practically no affordable rental options found in Canberra or Queanbeyan for any of the low income household studies.” So in fact it has got worse in the past four years under this government. Four years ago they said there were practically none; this year there are none.

Along the housing continuum, we have homelessness at one end; we have private housing and home ownership at the other; and we have social housing and private rental in the middle. The problem is that most Canberrans in that middle cannot make the jump from social housing to private rental. The gap is too large for them. They simply cannot make it out of that system. It is the government’s policies that are forcing that to be the case. Part of that is that the government is so focused on getting its income from land sales and land taxes that it does not have the right approach to reducing housing affordability or improving housing affordability.

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