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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 27 September 2007) . . Page.. 2795 ..

outcomes for indigenous students, will help. I am very pleased to report that 70 per cent of our public schools are members of the dare to lead coalition.

The government will continue to work towards the goal of indigenous students achieving outcomes equal to non-indigenous students. The foundations we have put in place in 2005—Koori preschools, an enhanced literacy and numeracy program and support through leadership and mentoring—will be built upon. We will continue to work in partnership with the indigenous community, particularly through the Indigenous Education Consultative Body, to ensure that the improvements we have seen, especially around literacy and numeracy, continue. Finally, we will continue to look at ways in which our teachers can gain greater insight and expertise around indigenous learning. I commend the 2007 progress report on indigenous education to the Assembly.

Affordable housing

Ministerial statement

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): I seek leave to make a ministerial statement related to affordable housing.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, declining housing affordability is a major policy issue that is confronting governments around Australia, indeed the world. The ACT government is well aware of the importance of addressing the problem in order to improve the wellbeing of all Canberrans and the functioning of our regional community. It is for this reason that my government introduced its affordable housing action plan on 12 April 2007 and signalled that this matter will be a priority for the government over the coming years.

The government is particularly concerned about easing housing stress for medium and low income households so that all members of our community, irrespective of their income or personal circumstances, can access affordable, appropriate housing. However, before informing the Assembly of the government’s progress in implementing the plan, I would like to briefly outline the reasons for the affordability problem that now confronts us.

The issue of declining housing affordability is widespread and has been building across Australia for a long time, but particularly over the last decade. The reasons are many and complex, but a major driver has been an increase in the demand for housing which has not been matched by supply. Ian Macfarlane, the former head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, was quoted in the Financial Review on 17-18 March 2007 as saying:

Why have the prices of the eight million houses in Australia basically doubled in the last decade? The answer … is almost entirely on the demand side.

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