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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3161 ..

CoreLogic data shows that house prices have increased over the last 18 months. This has been broad based, with every state and territory experiencing strong price growth. The ACT has not been immune to that national housing trend. The challenge that every government in this country faces in addressing housing affordability is complex. To suggest that simply government supply of land is a primary cause of house price increases ignores everything that has occurred over the last 18 months and ignores that we are still in the midst of an international health pandemic.

The annual indicative land release program in the ACT is calculated based on population growth and complex demographic data, and it represents less than two per cent of the ACT’s total established housing market. Any suggestion that there is a simple answer to this issue is quite simply lazy, opportunistic and wrong. Record low interest rates on bank loans along with tax incentives from the commonwealth government for investments in housing are driving surging prices. It has been widely reported by the Reserve Bank of Australia and numerous property market financial and economic analysts for over 12 months that the strong property market is being observed in all Australian states and territories. I am not laying blame; I am stating facts, Mr Cain.

In the ACT, we have a housing strategy that has been well considered and developed together with a diverse range of stakeholders. The ACT government will continue to be guided by the ACT housing strategy, built on consultations with the sector, the community and even MLAs, including you, Mr Parton. The ACT government will continue to take steps to address housing affordability across the board, with the tools that we have and the levers that are available to us.

This government continues to reduce stamp duty targeted at home occupiers buying in the lowest price thresholds. This is real tax reform to reduce a barrier to home ownership. The ACT will continue to assess and review the levers that we have available, and I would encourage Mr Parton, given he agrees that the federal government needs to do more, to lobby his federal coalition colleagues to consider the government actions that they could take on the levers that they have in their control that could make a difference to addressing housing affordability—not just here but in our country. I will give you a short list on which the commonwealth government could move. It could waive the historic ACT housing debt held by the commonwealth, with savings directed into more social housing—a bit like what they did in Tasmania. It could develop a national housing and homelessness strategy and support community housing industry associations, social housing and renovation programs; it could examine federal tax settings that benefit property investors purchasing their sixth and seventh home over the first homes of buyers and renters; it could recognise housing affordability as a national issue and increase funding to the states through the national housing and homelessness agreement; and it could increase commonwealth rent assistance.

I want to bring to the Assembly’s attention another report released today by the Menzies Centre for Health Governance at the Australian National University. This report gave the ACT the highest rating of all states and territories, tied with Tasmania and Western Australia, for the response to housing during COVID-19. The ANU

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