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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3171 ..

If we are to truly address the ongoing crisis in housing affordability in this city, as in many other Australian cities, we cannot do so without also acknowledging the impact of federal government policies and advocating for change. The ACT government has done some amazing work on increasing public housing maintenance, minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties, incentivising private landlords to make a meaningful contribution to affordable rental, and strengthening Access Canberra’s capacity for regulation on building quality.

It is time that the federal government did their bit to make housing affordable for those on middle or lower incomes by changing the policies that distort the market. It is time that we had a home for all.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.25): Canberrans have told us that they want a city that is sustainable, diverse and inclusive, with affordable housing options. The government came to this term with a realistic and thorough plan to deliver on our housing needs in a sustainable way. Building a sustainable city and supplying a mix of housing options, including detached blocks, requires detailed planning and policy work. Green space, environmental sustainability, affordability and choice are all important factors.

The upcoming ILRP is forecast to supply dwellings for around 41,000 Canberrans, at a time when our population is only expected to grow by around 17,500. Housing affordability is an issue across Australia. The Reserve Bank, in their submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry on this topic, said:

Some features of Australia’s tax and transfer system incentivise owner occupation and investing in property, and discourage mobility. This affects the balance of demand and supply in the housing and rental markets, and may contribute to affordability pressures for some.

If the Canberra Liberals are serious about affordable homes, they should be calling on their commonwealth government colleagues to change the tax and transfer system. Instead the Canberra Liberals continue to stand with Senator Zed Seselja in supporting the very commonwealth policies that are contributing to this problem.

Those opposite campaigned on behalf of Senator Seselja at the last election. They actively campaigned against policies proposed by federal Labor to address this very problem. That is why this is important, because if the Morrison government changed their policies tomorrow, this would have a significant positive impact for Canberrans.

The ACT government has some levers to help with housing affordability, and we are using those levers. An important lever to increase housing affordability is to have a range of different housing types at a range of different price points. Single dwellings, units and townhouses are all part of a range of options that we are delivering, and they all have a place in Canberra’s future.

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