Page 887 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

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supply ready to come onto the market when there is a spike. And when there is a slowdown, the supply of land should slow down somewhat as well so that we do not see a flooding. But this government is not going to be in a position to do that either way because of the significant gaps between when it announces the land release and when it comes onto the market. That has caused problems and will continue to cause problems.

We have seen the combination of slow land release and a lack of responsive land release. We have seen no real changes to the tax arrangements and we have seen a stifling of competition. All of these issues are the primary drivers of price in the territory and of making housing unaffordable for young families. I have relatives in Melbourne who, just six months ago, were able to purchase a house in the outer suburbs for $290,000—a three-bedroom ensuite home on a 900-metre block.

Mr Mulcahy: But you need a cut lunch and a visa to get there!

MR SESELJA: It is a longer trip into the city—it takes about 40 minutes to travel into the city. We have not seen Toorak prices go down but we have seen some reasonable prices in the outer suburbs, and that is what we would like to see. We should see some reasonable prices for first home buyers, particularly in the outer suburbs. This government has mismanaged this issue so badly that it is causing pain at the moment. Of course, potentially, through its mismanagement it could cause a downside pain in the opposite direction in the months and years to come. We need to get the balance right over a period of time by consistently managing the process, by having competition in the market so that we have a responsive market, and not a market that dips suddenly or rises too sharply, to the detriment of first home buyers.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (4.46): I note that, in bringing forward this matter of public importance, Mrs Burke ended her speech five minutes before her time was up. I can see how important it really is to her.

Mrs Burke: I talk quickly.

MR HARGREAVES: This government should be commended for its unique, innovative and comprehensive affordable housing action plan. Mrs Burke indicates that she talks quickly. I do not believe that; she just talks a lot. The plan leads the nation, giving leadership in the face of inaction and neglect on such an important issue by the previous federal government. It is not just benign neglect. The additional $110,000 in interest payments over the life of an average home loan—perhaps the single most exacerbating factor—is a result of ignoring persistent warnings by the Reserve Bank, and economic mismanagement.

The Treasurer has provided comparisons of housing and rental affordability. It would be useful for me to provide the Assembly with some national comparisons of growth in house prices. The ABS house price index data released recently shows that established house prices in Canberra rose by 4.4 per cent in the December quarter 2007, and 14.3 per cent compared to the December quarter 2006. The Canberra result is in line with the weighted average of the capital cities. Nationally, house prices were

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