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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3157 ..


(e) housing insecurity has a detrimental effect on the mental health of those Canberrans worried about getting a place to live and to raise a family;

(f) the ACT Government’s escalating land taxes and residential rates, its disincentives on owners renting their properties and deliberate restrictions on land supply are all contributing to increasing rent levels, the availability of rental properties and housing supply in the ACT; and

(g) the Government has, at its disposal, a range of policy levers and budgetary tools to ameliorate this terrible situation but refuses to do so; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) declare a housing crisis in the ACT;

(b) conduct an independent review on the impact of ACT Government policy on the rising cost of house prices and rent levels; and

(c) report back to this Assembly by 30 June 2022.

This motion calls upon the government to finally concede that we have a housing crisis in the ACT and to examine the actual effect of the ACT government policy on this crisis. An enduring feature of our culture, I think it is safe to say, is an expectation that one day we will own our very own homes. And until very recently, successive generations have had their aspirations fulfilled. Even though many of them struggled, worked hard and went without, it all paid off in the end as hundreds of thousands or millions of people took possession of their very own homes. But in recent times, the dream of owning your own place in Canberra has definitely been shattered.

I know that things have got tougher in most places in Australia. But it is clear that the decline in affordability has been greater here than anywhere else. And when you consider that this is a city of fewer than half a million people—so it is difficult to compare to some of the other metropolises in this country—and that it is the one place in Australia where a single government has control of most of the levers, it is difficult to fathom.

Jon Stanhope, CoreLogic, SQM, Domain, a number of major banks and a stack of would-be homeowners all know that long-term ACT policies in planning, land release and residential tenancies—and also in taxation—have created the perfect storm of housing unaffordability here in the ACT.

Of course, this government disagrees. This is the moment when you can shut me up forever on this particular issue. This is the moment when you can shut Jon Stanhope up forever. Here is the deal: if the government signs up to an independent review of Labor-Greens policy and its effect on land prices and rent, and if, as the government continues to assert, its policies have not impacted housing affordability at all, we will just shut up. We will be quiet, and the government can roll on and keep doing things that way. We will stop arguing. Of course, we all know that this motion will not be successful, because this government does not want anyone examining its policies in this space. I do not think the government really cares about housing affordability at all.


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