Page 893 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

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on mortgages. At night on the news, we see the impact of adverse outcomes in the United States. Is that the fault of John Howard? I think not. There are global factors in play. The great thing that happened in the last 10 years was that we managed to resist the Asian market meltdown because of prudent and clever steps taken by the Australian Treasury under the direction of the former government. So I cannot accept that.

Similarly, I cannot accept that problems with the value of homes in the ACT are unique to this territory. Recently I had someone lobby me and say: “All the problems in Canberra are housing affordability. People will not move from Sydney; it is too expensive.” I said, “You have to be kidding. I have lived in Sydney; I have friends in Sydney. Don’t tell me that you can go and buy a cheap home in Sydney”—unless you want to live in Siberia or be in a lean-to somewhere on the fringe. No-one will convince me that trying to buy a home in the decent areas of Sydney is even comparable to the cost of setting up shop in Canberra, with lower travel times and the like. These problems have to be seen in context.

In the remaining time, let me say that from my point of view it is difficult to determine exactly what Mr Seselja proposes as his solution to the housing affordability problem. I had this debate with him when I was one of his colleagues; I am still failing to see the end point of the logic in terms of how they are going to solve it.

I have also looked through the government’s affordable action plan and I have real issues with that. There is a lot of rhetoric in there, but I do not see solutions, in many cases, that will really work.

Mrs Burke: He was the one that wouldn’t do anything about it.

MR MULCAHY: Mrs Burke said you should not do anything about it. In a lot of areas in economics it is sometimes better not to do anything about things because you can sometimes, by government intervention, create a whole new set of problems.

What I am saying is that, if you are going to intervene in the marketplace, you had better be sure that you understand the consequence for home owners in this territory, because they will be savage in their response if you destroy the value of their homes.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.06): Housing affordability remains one of the most concerning issues faced by our community. It affects our young people who are trying to accumulate capital in preparation to buy a house; it affects those actively wishing to enter the housing market; it affects parents as they struggle to assist their families to get into the housing market.

The Stanhope government’s attempts to place the blame for the housing price crisis at the feet of the former federal government, specifically through recent increases in interest rates, is rubbish. It conveniently ignores the role of the Stanhope government in exacerbating the housing affordability crisis. I want to deal with the housing affordability crisis by looking at the approach of this government to raising revenue. In terms of revenue raising in this city, the Stanhope government is simply involved in

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