Page 1549 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 7 May 2008

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“(1) acknowledges the complexity of housing affordability and the inability of any single policy decision to eliminate the affordability barriers affecting some individuals and households;

(2) congratulates the ACT Labor Government for the comprehensiveness of its Affordable Housing Action Plan, released in 2007, with its 62 separate actions for addressing affordability across the spectrum;

(3) applauds the rapid roll-out of the initiatives contained within the Plan, including, most recently, the introduction of a bill to allow for land rental, and the call for expressions of interest from institutional investors interested in building rental housing; and

(4) invites the Liberal Party to adopt a bipartisan approach to the comprehensive suite of measures the Labor Government is implementing to tackle barriers to housing affordability for renters, homeowners and those in supported accommodation.”.

Mr Speaker, the government recognises that housing affordability is an issue in the ACT, as is the case right around the country. House prices in the territory rose considerably between 2000 and 2003, largely as a result of a very strong growth in demand. Canberra remains the most affordable capital city due to the generally high incomes of ACT residents, and that is acknowledged. The government recognises that not everyone is on high incomes. Households earning around Australian average wages are facing difficulties entering the housing market.

As we all know, this is a national issue and, unfortunately, we saw very little leadership from the national government that was in office during a large part of this decade. In fact, the legacy of the Liberal government was inflationary pressures and consecutive interest rate rises that have led, as we all know, to $367 per month in interest costs for an average household. That is what the Liberal legacy is. Of course, the issues we are dealing with now are very much a result of the fact that the Liberal Party in government has so mismanaged the economy that it has left young Canberra families paying an average of $367 a month in interest costs for an average household—about $4,000 a year.

We actually just had the Leader of the Opposition bemoaning a $15,000 stamp duty bill. Of course, as a result of the additional interest that families are paying now on an average mortgage, that is equivalent to four years of the interest rate rise or cost that young Canberra families are paying as a result of Liberal Party incompetence. I think it puts it in some perspective that you have got a situation where the Leader of the Opposition proposes as his first and only policy in opposition in three and a half years a rebate that would be eaten up in four years through the additional costs that young Canberra families are paying because of this massive impost on family budgets as a result of Liberal Party incompetence and mismanagement of the national economy. That led to 10 consecutive interest rate rises over the last couple of years, amounting to a $4,000 increase for every family in their mortgage payments. That lack of leadership and this one and only policy of the Liberal Party has to be acknowledged.

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