Page 888 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008
up by 3.2 per cent in the December quarter 2007 and 12.3 per cent compared to the December quarter 2006. Melbourne at 18.1 per cent, Adelaide at 20.2 per cent, and Brisbane at 21.6 per cent recorded much stronger growth in prices in the December quarter 2007 compared to the same quarter in 2006. Sydney at eight per cent, Hobart at 11.1 per cent and Darwin, also at 11.1 per cent, recorded lower growth over this period.
So the growth in Canberra house prices was in the middle of the figures for the capital cities, in line with the national average. Those opposite have not acknowledged this. The increase in project home prices in the December quarter 2007 compared to the same quarter in 2006 was 3.5 per cent. The weighted average of the eight capital cities was 4.6 per cent. So the growth in project home prices was actually lower than the average of the capital cities. Those opposite have not acknowledged that either.
The Treasurer has highlighted the broad range of measures and actions that the government has undertaken to address housing affordability, and action is actually happening. In order to deliver a range of housing options throughout Canberra, the government has accelerated the release of residential land and worked with the private sector in the development of housing estates either as joint ventures or as englobo estates. Smaller, more affordable blocks are now a mandatory component of all new residential estates.
The government has streamlined planning systems and introduced new provisions to ensure that the leasehold system operates correctly and fairly. New fees will serve to discourage land banking and land speculation by encouraging landowners to build within the time frames contained in their leases. In times of tight land supply, it is unreasonable if significant amounts of land are not being used for the purpose for which they were released. Innovative housing products are being encouraged by showcasing new ways of designing and constructing affordable housing and demonstration villages and through the excellence in housing affordability award. Members would be aware that encouraging institutional investment is one of the major initiatives of the recently elected federal government.
This was one of the 61 measures in the affordable housing action plan, and the government has already approached the market seeking expressions of interest from financial institutions and consortia. The most important part of this action plan is the commitment shown by the government to all members of the Canberra community, not only those who are in a position to own their own homes or rent in the private market. This fits comfortably with the Stanhope Labor government’s general approach to govern for the whole of the territory, not just sectional interests.
There is no doubt that the most affordable housing is public and community housing, and providing opportunities for improved community and public housing makes this action plan different. Unlike other cities, where churches or other community organisations, and even private landlords, provide an alternative low-cost accommodation option, in the ACT there are few options apart from social housing.
In addition to our recurrent expenditure, the ACT government provides an asset worth $3 billion for affordable housing. Housing ACT remains the biggest landlord in the