Page 449 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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Wednesday, 16 February 2005

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Land (Planning and Environment) (Unit Developments) Amendment Bill 2005

Dr Foskey, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (10.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

On behalf of the Greens I am pleased to present the Land (Planning and Environment) (Unit Developments) Amendment Bill 2005. This bill is an updated version of the bill that my predecessor, Kerrie Tucker, presented to the Assembly in June last year. The bill addresses the ongoing crisis of the lack of affordable housing available in the ACT and takes a step towards establishing mechanisms to ensure that we maintain a stock of affordable housing in our community. In December, total private sector dwelling approvals increased by almost 100 per cent to 544, but only 72 of those were for private houses. The investment market seems to be maintaining strength. This bill will assist the thriving housing market to work with government to address social needs of affordable housing. This bill is based on recommendation 33 in the report of the affordable housing taskforce, Affordable Housing in the Australian Capital Territory: Strategies for Action, which states:

It is recommended that the ACT Government introduce inclusionary zoning based on 3-4 per cent of the floor space or its cash equivalent for all multi-unit/block residential development. Further, it is recommenced that both the housing stock and funding created be provided to, and managed by, affordable housing providers, the latter to be used to acquire additional affordable housing.

Unfortunately, the response of members in the last Assembly to this legislation was disappointing. Comments during debate indicated that members did not understand the flexibility of the bill. I make it clear that we are very happy to work together with other members to address the issue, and this time I look forward to a constructive response.

The most significant change in the bill is the reduction of the required percentage to 4 per cent of unit development dedicated to affordable housing. This percentage is in line with the inclusionary zoning recommendation in the taskforce report. This bill will essentially introduce two mechanisms to ensure an increase in the stock of public or affordable housing. First, where the government grants the new lease with the purpose of a major unit development, the bill will establish that the lease may only be granted if a condition is built into the lease requiring 4 per cent of the completed development to be either handed over to the Commissioner for Housing for public housing or to be otherwise used, and continue to be used, for affordable housing. This is requiring

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