Page 1538 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 June 2007

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commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership in the Canberra community. The changes also require a new level of awareness and cooperation between government and the community to achieve these aims. A comprehensive communication strategy has been developed by my department to guide introduction, implementation and communication of these changes to Canberra community. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Pratt) adjourned to the next sitting.

Revenue Legislation (Housing Affordability Initiatives) Amendment Bill 2007

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (10.49): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Revenue Legislation (Housing Affordability Initiatives) Amendment Bill amends the Duties Act 1999, the Rates Act 2004 and the Land Tax Act 2004 to implement a number of recommendations contained in the affordable housing steering group report. In August 2006, the affordable housing steering group was formed to advise the government on initiatives to increase the supply of affordable housing in the ACT.

Changes in the housing market over the last five years have made the dream of owning a home harder to attain for many Canberrans. There are members in our community currently struggling to enter the ACT housing market, whether it is into home ownership, finding affordable rental properties or securing supported accommodation. Today I am introducing changes to implement a number of important measures. This is the first in a series of bills to implement the government’s housing affordability action plan.

This bill amends current ACT legislation to allow eligible households to defer duty payments for up to five years and pay the duty in instalments over the next five years. This will significantly reduce the up-front costs first home buyers currently face and help more ACT residents to enter the housing market. The deferral of duty for home buyer concession scheme recipients and certain eligible first home owner grant recipients will ensure that assistance is provided to those households most in need. The deferral of stamp duty payments will significantly help those ACT residents entering the housing market for the first time and make housing more affordable in the ACT.

Social housing is vital to any community. Community Housing Canberra, CHC, is a small but important element of the housing sector, meeting important social needs by providing critical support to a range of people. The Duties Act 1999 currently requires

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