Page 1405 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005
committed to providing affordable housing to the lowest income people in our territory, then we should look at ways to mitigate these issues.
We are a government; we do have certain powers. By the way, they are a government and they have certain powers. I am informed by them over and over again that this is a government committed to social justice. Here they had before them a bill that would have made it easier for them to achieve housing justice.
Mr Seselja used the term “simple economics”. I did economics too; I did it at university level as well. Economics is never simple; it just ain’t. If you are going to say that demand and supply are at work here in the housing market, then I think you are leaving out many things that operate outside that. For instance, there is a time lag between demand and supply. I think at the moment we are looking at oversupply of certain kinds of houses—and that oversupply has not brought rents down for lower income people.
We did check with some developers; it is not true that we did not consult. I would like to go back to Mr Seselja’s last statement which was that, “Our goal is not a bad one but the Greens need to think it through.” I thought that was what this Assembly was for—to work together, to think through—for solutions to our problems.
We have heard that the South Australian government has made a commitment to expand the supply of affordable housing. There is little detail yet about how this will be implemented, but that is a government that had the courage to move this, to put it into effect, and it provides a model for us to watch. Let us also not forget that in New South Wales there are some areas set up as inclusionary zones. Mr Corbell did not refer to those, but I would hope the government is in touch with people there, monitoring how it happens and how it works.
In the government’s last response to the affordable housing task force recommendations, they stated that, “The recommended three to four per cent hand-back option in new multi-unit development sites will be examined”—will be examined—“especially in relation to ensuring a transparent and effective implementation.”
It is very disappointing to us that we have seen no action towards this. In fact, we have not even been spoken to or approached by the minister’s office with any interest to amend our legislation. Our legislation is flexible and allows the government to negotiate over each unit development. The government has the flexibility to waive or adjust charges associated with changes of lease and other planning charges, just as it has chosen to do as an incentive for development in places like City West.
Referring the bill to a committee would have been a step towards nutting out some of the issues members have raised today about our bill. It is an opportunity to have interested parties—including developers, housing interest bodies and the government—contribute to a discussion about the best way to address inclusionary zoning and affordable housing. It is not enough to respond and agree to the recommendations; we need a plan to implement the recommendations of the affordable housing task force. The New South Wales government has set up a section within its department. Where is our equivalent?
In conclusion, I see our bill going down but that is, I think, a reflection on the fact that people here weren’t willing to take it, work with it and make it into something they could