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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3173 ..

protecting the landscape and creating accessible and friendly spaces that connect people and promote healthy communities.

Managing the outward spread of our urban footprint limits our impact on the environment and better connects people to their jobs and to each other. Our planning, land release and housing policies work together to achieve a sustainable city. They provide the housing choices that Canberrans want and have ultimately grown our city, while supporting jobs and protecting the environment.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong) (4.31): I rise today to thank Mr Parton for his motion, and to speak in support of Minister Berry’s amendment.

The ACT Greens acknowledge that there is a housing affordability crisis across Australia, including here in Canberra. This is the result of decades of policy settings that encourage housing to be viewed as a market, as an investment, as a source of passive income, rather than as a home, a social good—moreover, a necessity.

These policy settings that have caused this crisis take time to undo and cannot solely be done by the ACT. We have already heard from Minister Berry today about how the government is tracking in the delivery of the housing strategy, which is specifically aimed at addressing issues around housing affordability. While the pandemic has caused unprecedented stress on housing, this government is committed to continuing to deliver housing options for all Canberrans.

Government investment is rightly focused on supporting people in the greatest need. As illustrated in the parliamentary and governing agreement, there is a commitment to deliver 400 more public housing homes and the renewal of 1,000 public housing homes so that they better meet the needs of tenants. Further, the 2021-22 budget includes an additional $80 million for maintenance over the next three years and $19 million towards the delivery of 400 more public housing dwellings.

Housing affordability was central to the Greens’ election campaign and remains a priority as a governing partner. We will continue to work with the community to look at new and innovative ways that we can respond to housing affordability in Canberra. I would like to point out that supply is not the only issue. For example, we know that there are investment properties here in Canberra that are not rented out and are left empty, waiting for property values to rise even further, to be sold at huge profits, even though the property itself has remained unchanged. We also know that there are more short-term rentals through Airbnb and other short-term rental agencies that mean long-term rental is not available for local residents.

From Mr Parton’s motion, it appears that he is saying that if the government were to cut land taxes and lower residential rates, this measure would have the most significant impact on the housing crisis in Canberra. Are we confident that if government did cut land taxes and residential rates landlords across Canberra would call up their tenants or agents and reduce the rent? Does this mean that government should simply rely on the goodwill of investors to lower their rental profits to be proportional to this reduction? Is it a reasonable expectation that, with a 0.8 per cent

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