Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3248 ..
land released. We also need to focus on delivering renewal, and there are a number of projects underway that do go to increase the housing supply.
But let us not forget that policies that fuel the demand side and policies that increase the size and quality of housing push up the price of housing. It is basic economics; it should not be that surprising. Given that all federal policy settings are put in place to ensure that the price of housing does not fall, ever, we must accept that fact, and not try and shift the blame on housing affordability from the government—and the level of government—that is responsible for it. (Time expired.)
MS CASTLEY: My question is to the Chief Minister. The construction sector represents 5,500 mostly small businesses employing almost 15,000 Canberrans, yet it endured the longest shutdown in the country, resulting in the loss of almost 2,200 jobs. The latest CommSec report reveals the ACT has the most impacted construction industry across the country, with work down 8.1 per cent compared to last year; yet the government turned its back on these small businesses by refusing them access to top-up and extension payments, a decision the government only reversed following strong industry lobbying. Why did the government deny top-up and extension payments to small construction businesses that have suffered a 30 per cent downturn?
MR BARR: The government did not, Madam Speaker. In fact, almost every assertion in Ms Castley’s question is incorrect and I reject it outright. This is continuing a pattern of incorrect assertions underpinning political questions that have absolutely no validity.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary.
MS CASTLEY: Minister, will the government guarantee a seven-day turnaround for processing the applications for this sector?
MR BARR: In relation to special consideration payments for the construction sector—a small portion of the sector, less than five per cent—that was impacted by ongoing public health restrictions between late September and 15 October, we have received 67 applications.
Mrs Jones: How long will they take to turn around.
MR BARR: The turnaround time on those will be within the 30-day limit that has been set.
MRS KIKKERT: A supplementary. Chief Minister, when will you meet construction sector leaders who have been seeking a meeting with you since lockdown?
MR BARR: Construction sector leaders have not been seeking a meeting with me. Construction sector leaders—
Mrs Jones: Apparently they are. That just goes to show how little you know!