Page 1403 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005
Let me go through some of the concerns that have been raised by other members in more detail. Mr Hargreaves, for the government, raised the issue that he thought this was a punitive tax on the developer, a tax that will be shifted to the buyer or the eventual renter of the property. Again, this is an approach that takes a sort of, “Oh well, the government can stand aside while this happens. We’ll introduce it, then we’ll stand aside; but we have a number of discretionary charges that can be waived as an encouragement to developers.”
I think members are forgetting an important component of that bill—the fact that there needs to be flexibility and that there need to be individual negotiations. I have heard again from Mr Hargreaves—and from Mr Corbell—that the government has affordable housing high on its list of priorities. Yet I do not see anywhere a timeline for putting into action the recommendations that the government has agreed to, including one that our bill addresses.
I see no timeline for actually implementing that. Nor do I see that the government has within the Department of Housing—or anywhere else, for that matter—a taskforce, a group that is concerned with affordable housing. Here I do not mean affordable housing for the lower middle class; I mean affordable housing for the poor in Canberra. Where else are we going here? I am really pleased, by the way, that five per cent of total residential development in City West is going to be public housing.
Mr Seselja: Affordable housing.
Dr Foskey: Affordable housing, yes. I will be very interested to see how that is implemented, because it could be that that will provide a model for how we can proceed with the aims of our bill. Let us have a look at that. I really encourage it but I am also very aware that the government of that time said that a proportion of the Kingston foreshore development would be affordable housing. Well, that is yet to materialise.
Mr Hargreaves also said it is a community-wide problem that needs a community-wide solution. Are developers not part of our community? When we shrink the public’s fear and broaden the scope for private developers to take over our housing policy—which, it seems to me, is the implication of a lot of what has been said today—should we not then use that? Is that not the area where we need to be working to find affordable housing?
The bottom line is that the government does not have enough money, especially due to the actions of the Commonwealth government, to satisfy our housing need for low income people We have to work with those who are driving development in this city.
Mr Seselja: Just raise taxes, then. Raise taxes—that’s all it is! That’s what you’re advocating.
Dr Foskey: I am sorry. I cannot hear you, Mr Seselja; but you can speak to me afterwards if you have something that I should hear. That deals with Mr Hargreaves. I will address Mr Corbell’s remarks next. We will keep it to the party, shall we?
Mr Corbell said that the inclusionary zoning issue has been debated for a number of years and considered by the affordable housing task force. It is a matter of fact,