Page 890 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

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qualify for public housing. For some years now, Community Housing Canberra has played a vital role in assisting Canberrans on low to moderate incomes by providing affordable housing that is appropriate to their needs. For this reason the government has provided CHC with an injection of $40 million through the transfer of properties from Housing ACT. CHC has also been provided with a $50 million loan facility to support a 10-year program to provide 500 dwellings for rent to low to moderate income households and 500 dwellings for sale to moderate income home buyers. Overall, this partnership will deliver the supply of around 1,000 dwellings.

The ACT government has been working with other state and territory jurisdictions for some time to address a range of housing issues, including social housing and broader housing affordability issues. Since the election of the Rudd government there has been a recognition at the national level that a concerted effort is needed to tackle these issues. Given the importance of the national debate, I believe it is useful to address actions taken since the election of the Rudd government.

In December 2007, the Rudd government announced the establishment of a Council of Australian Governments housing working group, chaired by the newly appointed Minister for Housing, Ms Tanya Plibersek. The COAG housing working group was formed with the key objective of ensuring that all levels of government work together to improve housing affordability and negotiate a new national housing affordability agreement which builds on previous agreements and includes housing for Indigenous people.

Mr Speaker, I think you can tell that this government takes housing affordability particularly seriously. It tackles it from the perspective of land release and from the perspective of public and community housing. It believes that safe, secure and affordable housing is the plank from which people can leap into a better and more secure life.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.56): Mr Speaker, it is an interesting topic that has been put on the paper today. I have already made my comments about what I think must be a short-sighted approach by the opposition, which is being short-sighted. I am amazed that they would sacrifice a vote on a far more detailed motion on housing affordability proposed by their leader and replace it with an hour’s worth of discussion, but that is the wisdom of the group.

I will speak on this matter of public importance, but I must say that I have been disappointed by the rather backwards way in which discussions of housing affordability have often proceeded and I have no confidence that anything is going to change today as a result of this discussion. I am happy to stand here and talk about housing affordability; it is obviously an important issue. But we can have discussions here until we are blue in the face and nothing is actually going to change.

This position might buck the trend, but I for one do not believe that much is gained by standing around here and talking about housing affordability or simply bemoaning the fact that property prices are so high. Merely shaking our fists about housing affordability will do nothing to change the situation, no matter how hard and loudly the Liberal Party tries to do so.

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