Page 883 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

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spectrum. It is creating more opportunities for home ownership by accelerating the release of residential land by 1,000 blocks in this financial year alone, with much more to come. It is delivering a wider diversity of housing products at a range of prices. It is inviting institutional investment in private rental accommodation, expanding the provision of community and not-for-profit housing, providing more targeted public housing and delivering more supported and aged accommodation. It is a whole-of-government program and—something that those opposite quite clearly do not understand when they attack it in a quest for political points—it is being delivered in partnership with the private sector: with builders, with developers, with architects, with investors and, indeed, with the whole of this community.

The government has moved quickly to implement the housing affordability plan. Already, we have increased the supply of land to the market by an additional 1,000 blocks to an unprecedented total of 3,200 in this financial year. We have streamlined the release and approval processes for land, including responding to industry calls for englobo releases. We have mandated the delivery of new house and land packages priced between $200,000 and $300,000. We have provided more generous and more targeted financial concessions to help more Canberrans take the step into home ownership, and to do so with greater confidence and less trepidation.

We have embarked on an exciting initiative that will involve institutional investors in the provision of affordable private rental accommodation. In relation to that, we have gone to the market for expressions of interest. We have massively expanded the role and capacity of Community Housing Canberra by providing an equity injection of $40 million and a loan facility of $50 million, with an aim and a challenge to Community Housing Canberra over the next 10 years to produce an additional 1,000 affordable houses for purchase and for rent by those that do experience some housing stress.

We have ensured that better and more targeted use is made of public housing. We have released two demonstration projects to showcase affordable land and housing packages. We have rewarded innovation in affordable housing design and construction through an excellence in housing affordability award. Just this week, I announced the winners of the Housing Industry Association and Royal Australian Institute of Architects affordable housing design competition. I was very pleased to be at that function this week in order to acknowledge those who participated. The response from architects, designers and students in architecture at the University of Canberra was overwhelming in regard to the prizes that each of them had achieved.

The government has partnered with business and community organisations to achieve real results. I would like to acknowledge and thank all those organisations that are working with the government to address housing affordability and that have shown leadership and are committed to making a difference for the Canberra community. The government has been very pleased to create the circumstances where these challenges can be met through innovative ways of thinking and delivery of creative solutions. Labor is getting on with the job of providing access to affordable housing for all.

At the launch of the action plan, I acknowledged that there was no quick fix and that we would need to make fundamental changes to the system. This is a very ambitious

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