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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3216 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

We sign up to an agreement. We give the Commonwealth the wink and the nod. We say, "Yes, we will be part of that." The very next day, without consultation on terms of reference or membership, the Commonwealth says, "This is what we are doing. We have established a committee. We, the Commonwealth, have decided on the membership. We have decided on the terms of reference. This is what we are going to do." Although we agreed to a partnership approach, the Commonwealth then does the job without consultation on the membership, the terms of reference, the end result or a desired united process. It says, "By the way, you remember that committee we set up? You remember those terms of reference we gave to that mob we identified and appointed? We would like you to pay the bill now."

The Commonwealth has to learn that it has to cooperate. I would have done the same on any other ministerial or Commonwealth/state issue. The Commonwealth throws its weight around, saying, "We will decide. We will develop the terms of reference. We will decide on the membership. We will do everything except pay the bill." The Commonwealth has another think coming.

Affordable housing

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the minister for housing. In light of the Prime Minister's new-found passion for affordable housing, what is the Stanhope government doing to make housing more affordable in the ACT?

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I was very pleased to hear Mr Howard mention the word "housing". I do not think I have ever heard him say that word before. It must be some problem if the Prime Minister is now picking it up. I hope he also has more than a conversation with Senator Amanda Vanstone, the minister for housing, because we are in our own discussions with that lady.

The Prime Minister announced that he will be forming a federal affordable housing task force which will be charged with the task of investigating options for making housing more affordable. That is good. We have done that. In fact, the local task force is not far from reporting.

It appears that the federal government is primarily concerned with making home ownership more affordable through the development of shared equity schemes whereby people jointly own their homes with a financial institution. That has yet to be assessed. I have heard good and bad comment about it. I am ready to listen to anything, and the task force is too.

Mr Howard's announcement is too little too late. The signs have been evident that housing affordability has been an issue for quite some time. It is also clear that these issues affect all parts of the housing system, be it public or community housing or private renters. The affordability crisis, I have to tell Mr Howard, extends beyond home ownership.

One of the actions this government took very early on was to form an affordable housing task force comprising industry, government and community representatives. The task force will report to me soon. It is chaired by Chris Purdon, who is also chair of my housing advisory committee, and it has been asked to make recommendations for an

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