Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3397 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
aims of making housing both accessible and affordable. He set about reforming the housing commission and embarking on a campaign of encouraging public housing tenants to buy their homes or build new ones. It was an extraordinarily successful campaign, which eventually saw more than 33,000 housing commission tenants purchase their own homes.
Bolte ignited a boom that extended throughout his premiership, with more than half a million new homes and flats being built. Indeed, the efforts were to give Victoria what was claimed to be the highest rate of home ownership in the world-some 71.8 per cent, according to the 1971 census. Henry Bolte understood the aspirations of people. As a leader, he successfully tapped into the post-war expectations that this was a new age of opportunity and prosperity-an age that would seek to make amends for the hard years of depression and war which had just passed.
Henry Bolte's housing policies remain a lasting monument to his rule. They remain also one of the Liberal Party's most significant achievements. I draw attention to them in this context not just to make a political point, even though they are great political points, but to illustrate that accessibility to and affordability of housing is a great denominator of a prosperous and fair society. Any government that will not acknowledge this does so at its own peril. Any government that does not acknowledge this is fiddling with the great Australian dream.
I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that housing affordability is in crisis. The Commonwealth Bank/Housing Industry Association report on affordability has pointed to a nationwide decline in affordability of 17.8 per cent over the past year but, in the ACT, it is far worse. In the ACT, there has been a decline in affordability of 27.7 per cent.
Nearly a year ago, in this place, Mr Wood-the minister for housing-said, "We cannot afford to ignore the increasing affordability problems for many households in the ACT market."Yet what has the government done?
It did commission what I have lightly referred to as a four-volume novel on housing affordability. I think it should be considered thus because the government has taken very little from its lavish production, and it has been lightly thrown aside. What we are debating here today are strategies for action as a result of the ACT Affordable Housing Taskforce. However, when you look through the strategies for action, there is not much action in evidence.
In his tabling statement, Mr Wood says that they have agreed to 23 recommendations, agreed in principle to 17 others, and have gone off to reconsider and further study six more. Yet, when it boils down to what is actually being done, it is extremely thin indeed. Mr Wood mentions, in his tabling statement, referring back to the ACT budget, a whole lot of initiatives-things that he says are initiatives for affordable housing. Many of them are stopgap measures and do not provide ongoing housing-they address crisis issues. For instance, whilst $30 million over four years for short-term supported accommodation for families and single men in services for homeless people is laudable, it does not address the core issue of housing affordability.