Page 2061 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008

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affordable house and land packages will be available to households that are eligible to access the homebuyer concession scheme. Eligible households will have a household income that does not exceed $120,000 and will not have held any interest in property for the previous two years.

The first of these packages will be available in Franklin and will be for sale off the plan later this year. Only last week the government announced the successful builders who will make up the panel to provide house and land packages as part of the own place initiative. A land ballot of blocks in Franklin will be held for builders on 30 June. This initiative will provide another fantastic option for affordable housing for Canberrans.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question from Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can the Chief Minister advise the Assembly how these affordable housing programs compare with any other housing initiatives proposed?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am aware of another so-called affordable housing initiative. Really, it is not an affordable housing initiative at all, but I guess it falls within the ambit of the question. It is actually sold as an affordability issue, but the contrast between the owned place and the land rent scheme and, of course, the no stamp duty scheme is quite stark.

The government is implementing a comprehensive and innovative affordable housing action plan—in stark contrast, of course, to the opposition’s proposed one-shot approach to housing affordability. The government is addressing the underlying causes and assisting those in need, while the opposition’s one and only policy proposal, its one-shot policy, would be a damaging and retrograde policy for affordability generally.

The opposition’s one and only policy on affordable housing is to provide a full concession to a person purchasing a half million dollar first home. The opposition’s policy is not new. It has—and we acknowledge this—been tried by various state governments and it has been proven to fail, to be worse than ineffective and, in fact, to be counterproductive.

If the opposition will not heed my advice on this issue, perhaps they will listen to Westpac. The Westpac Banking Corporation, in their economic release on 20 June 2008—last week—noted the significant changes to stamp duty rates by a number of state governments in the 2008-09 budgets and earlier. Westpac has analysed the likely effects of these new state government concessions and bonuses and has concluded that they will flow directly into higher house prices—directly into higher house prices!

Westpac concluded that these attempted concessions will flow directly into higher house prices. Westpac also concluded that the inevitable flow-on effect is almost instantaneous. I think the remarkable aspect of the Westpac research and advice in relation to this is that the effect is essentially instantaneous. Westpac studied the situation in Western Australia, where stamp duty exemptions apply in the way that the

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