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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 September 2018) . . Page.. 3789 ..

MS ORR: Minister, how is the scheme making home ownership more affordable in the ACT?

MS BERRY: The land rent scheme gives people the option of renting land rather than purchasing the land to build a home. This means that they need to fund the construction of a home but they do not need to fund the up-front cost of the land. This significantly reduces the cost for Canberrans in owning their first home.

The ACT is able to leverage our unique position to offer blocks for land rent as an alternative to land sales. Under the scheme, people who purchase a single-dwelling residential block from the Suburban Land Agency can apply for their crown lease to be a land rent lease. Canberrans can then rent the land at a discounted rate of two per cent over time, building equity in their home without being subject to the up-front costs. At a later stage owners have the option to purchase the block.

This program is working really well. According to the Australia Institute, over 3,200 households have benefitted from the scheme with an annual housing cost saving of around $9 million, a large amount for a small jurisdiction like ours. According to the study, land rent owners on average are saving around 37 per cent on housing costs over 10 years.

The reality of owning your own home for households on a moderate income is more achievable thanks to the ACT government and programs like this land rent scheme, as well as the government’s affordable home purchase database. It is great to see more Canberrans being able to take up the opportunity to build a home which is more affordable and well situated in the growing areas of Canberra.

MR PETTERSSON: How does the ACT government’s approach to housing affordability and homelessness contrast with some other jurisdictions?

MS BERRY: As we get closer to the release of the new housing strategy, it is important to remember the approach that the ACT government will take to tackling housing affordability and homelessness. The heart of the strategy will look at how we make having a safe, secure, affordable home a reality for more Canberrans.

While the federal government has withdrawn from any new funding for public housing and great initiatives like the national rental affordability scheme, it is clear that local and state jurisdictions will need to step up to address these issues.

Building on the conversations that I have already been having, if we grow public housing, as everyone in this chamber has agreed we need to, we also need to welcome tenants into our community. The ACT has the highest ratio of public housing in the country. Through the renewal program we have been able to spread more public housing throughout the suburbs to give tenants more choice on where they would like to live.

There are significant differences between Labor and Liberal governments when it comes to supporting public housing. We will not be introducing a three-strike policy, exiting tenants into homelessness. We will not be transferring a third of our public

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