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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1775 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

The amount of $8.8 million will be used for the replacement, in urban areas, of rural public housing properties destroyed in the bushfires. The land release program for 2003-2004 provides for the government to release land for approximately 2,400 residential dwellings. The government estimates that redevelopments will provide an additional 1,000 homes-thus meeting demand-providing stability and affordability, and meeting housing affordability objectives.

The government will commence a rental bonds assistance program for low income earners. Property value thresholds for stamp duty concessions to low income households purchasing their homes will be broadened to take into account increasing prices in residential property values.

These immediate budgetary measures will provide a platform for the government to push forward in addressing housing affordability for those with a high level of identified need.

The government is still supportive, at various levels, of all the recommendations, but many have been agreed to in principle or noted at this stage because of the need to do more work.

I have stated, right from the outset of receiving this report, that it contains recommendations offering solutions to problems that are complex and need further consideration. The upshot of this is that the government is not ruling anything out at this stage, because affordable housing is too serious an issue-and because other jurisdictions are trying all sorts of new initiatives as well. So, in principle, everything the task force recommended is still on the table for consideration.

We have spoken to the community and business sectors. There are parts of the report they like, parts on which they would like further clarification, and parts where they feel more debate and investigation is needed. The government has listened to these views and has reflected what it heard, in its response to the Assembly.

Therefore, the mechanisms recommended by the task force to increase the supply of affordable housing are all still being considered-that is land supply; planning mechanisms, such as inclusionary zoning and bonuses; encouraging the private rental market; reducing barriers to home ownership; improving the capacity of public housing; and the expansion of community housing through the recently agreed community housing framework, and so on. The government will continue to talk to the community and to the business sector about developing some of these recommendations further.

At the same time, we will push forward with the budgetary initiatives we have committed ourselves to providing to those most in distress. I commend the government response to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Tucker ) adjourned to the next sitting.


MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Arts

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