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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3681 ..

protect. I am also keen to see our progress towards the 30 per cent living infrastructure targets. I am glad that these remain a priority in this budget. They will be assisted by the draft variation that I mentioned, DV 369, that was recently tabled. That DV introduces a footprint into all future housing development, and we look forward to monitoring its effectiveness and seeing the other new laws that will support it.

I was really thrilled to see that this budget gives recurrent funding for Landcare and catchment groups. That will ensure that Landcare and catchment groups are able to forward plan their activities for the first time, and it will make a significant difference to what they can actually achieve on the ground. It is really important. Landcare and catchment groups do amazing work, and they have done for decades. (Second speaking period taken.) The thousands upon thousands of hours spent by tireless volunteers to keep our bush in good condition, deal with weed management, deal with erosion and plant natives is invaluable. This funding is a recognition of the contribution that those volunteers make and the importance of their work. We look forward to seeing the continuing fruits of their labour in the next three years.

The Greens are happy to support these budget measures, and I look forward to seeing the details of the planning review.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (10.59): As the shadow minister for housing, I want to make a few points on the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate and its appropriation. This organisation and its minister, Mr Gentleman, play a vital role in influencing Canberra’s housing situation. And what a dire situation we have, Mr Assistant Speaker. In previous decades, Canberrans, it would be safe to say, enjoyed an enduring accessibility to affordable housing. I am told that after World War II people moving to Canberra could wander into an office of the relevant department, look at a block map and say, “I’ll have that one, please; I’d like to live there.” Later on, you had to pay for a block of land, but it was still chosen over the counter.

Those were the halcyon days. Obviously, we are never going to return there. I certainly appreciate that time has moved along, with land development costs, building costs and land use constraints. But, just as occurred in the 1950s, the government entity—that is, this government—continues to control the allocation of land for housing in the territory. The philosophy behind government control of land release was exercised to make sure that the mass influx of commonwealth public service employees could be efficiently housed.

History shows, of course, that Canberra expanded quite rapidly as a result, and it continues to do so. Back then, the city planners and the National Capital Development Commission did in fact expect continuous growth and were preoccupied with constant revisions of the city plan. The key objective, of course, was to maintain a steady supply of residential land for private residential dwellings and social housing.

This strategy worked reasonably well under various government organisations that had responsibility for residential land supply. It also guaranteed that those who were after a block of land to build a house had a fair chance of doing so, which is in stark contrast to what we see now.

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