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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 4568 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

So the bottom line is there is not one single factor driving up housing affordability, but a range of factors which need to be understood before they can be appropriately addressed.

We have been hearing in this place about land tax and so on. So I think there are many things that we can do to alleviate the situation. Recommendation 12 of the report states:

... that the Government equitably and transparently apply taxes and charges between affordable housing providers:

    • to reduce the cost burden for affordable housing providers, through possible exemptions from land tax, payroll tax, Change of Use Charge and stamp duty; and

    • in a manner consistent with other States and Territories.

So I guess there are some areas that we can look at and there are things that we can do that we think we may not be able to do. I am happy to see the expansion of the community housing sector. It is a good model.

Mr Speaker, the government needs to ensure that it does not continue to sit on its hands. The government has now been in office for two years and many of these things could and should have been done possibly a lot sooner. In my honest opinion, we did not need a report to tell us about some of these things. We seem to have wasted a lot of time, money and effort in putting things on paper because actions speak louder than words.

MS TUCKER (11.18): One of the fundamental problems for affordable housing in the ACT, as the Labor Party noted in its policy platform for the last election, is that we do not have the kinds of ecumenical or boarding house options that other cities do. Our low-cost options are limited and private rental housing is, of course, vulnerable to changes in the private market.

We have, on a straight numerical comparison, a large proportion of public housing in the ACT, but it is an essential part of our affordable housing, more so than in other places. Unfortunately, the government has not committed to increasing the stock of public housing, and ultimately I think this is going to be essential.

I am pleased that the government maintained its commitment to security of tenure, in recognition of the importance of security and stability of housing to individuals, families and community. It is a little encouraging that the government has agreed to investigate the potential for planning rules to require a proportion of affordable housing; but only a little encouraging because an awful lot of time has passed, many people have been living in housing stress or have been homeless, and still we do not have a coherent strategy to increase the amount of affordable housing.

This is very disappointing when the proposal was one embraced and even promoted by the now minister when he was in opposition. In relation to Kingston foreshore, the minister and I both campaigned, you could say, for at least 10 per cent of the housing in that area to be publicly owned. Mr Wood at that time was quoted in the Canberra Times

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