Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3162 ..
report outlines some of the measures provided by the ACT government to support homeowners and tenants during a very challenging time. Unfortunately, they gave the commonwealth government an F, but I am glad to see that the measures that we have implemented in the ACT have been recognised in this report.
Measures highlighted in the report included: funding for social housing infrastructure through our stimulus support to boost public housing stock and maintenance; enhanced tenancy protections, making it easier to break fixed-term tenancies due to hardship from COVID-19; the rental moratorium for impacted households, preventing eviction due to rental arears; increased funding for homelessness services, including standing up Mackillop House, the Winter Lodge, and expanding Axial Housing; and support for vulnerable homeowners through a range of initiatives, including a rate rebate and energy concessions.
With respect to land supply over the last four years and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACT government has not stopped land supply and development pipelines like private sector land developers have. When the private sector was reducing its inventories and limiting new releases, the SLA continued to release new blocks to the market, having the most blocks available over the counter in over a decade, and providing prospective buyers plenty of options of land to buy. What we have seen through the pandemic in terms of that take up has been unprecedented.
Nobody predicted the rate of land purchase; in fact, quite the opposite, the prediction was that the situation would be quite dire. Across Australia, home and land sales have substantially increased and while all of the available blocks have been sold, the SLA has continued to deliver—on the indicative land release program—enough land to cater for population growth. There has been no holding back at any time. During the 2021 year, when population growth was estimated to be 0.25 per cent—approximately 1,000 people—the SLA released land for 3,061 dwellings. Since 2018, the Suburban Land Agency has released 14,503 dwellings, which is within one per cent of the indicative land release program for that time period.
Those dwellings offer Canberrans a variety of options, not just residential blocks. We want to offer fantastic places for people to live, no matter what type of housing they choose to live in. The target for the next five years is 16,434 dwellings. Today, suggestions have been made by the Canberra Liberals that adding more single home blocks to that number is going to solve the problem. Let me be clear: meeting that target is not going to be a simple matter of bulldozing more greenspace and offering more single blocks. Canberrans do not want uncontrolled urban sprawl in their green spaces. They understand that the 70/30 infill target is about more than just infrastructure; it is also about protecting the environment and the bush capital that we all love. Canberrans understand that there is no simple answer to housing affordability.
In the 2020 election, Canberrans showed this chamber what they think of the simple-answers approach to hard economics. To build the kind of sustainable city we want, with all of the services we need, we are going to have to think differently. And the government is realistic; it has evidence-based plans to address Canberra’s housing needs. That means doing more than just promising simplistic solutions that will have little impact. We are looking at supply of the kinds of housing we need to build, as