Page 2243 - Week 06 - Friday, 27 June 2008

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Land rent scheme

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the minister advise how the land rent scheme will assist housing affordability in the territory?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question.

Mrs Dunne: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think that this question was asked yesterday or the day before, perhaps by Ms MacDonald. If it has already been answered, it therefore cannot be asked again.

MR Gentleman: On the point of order Mr Speaker. It was not a question I asked yesterday. I asked a general question about housing affordability programs, not this particular land rent scheme.

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, proceed.

MR STANHOPE: I understand the Liberal Party’s embarrassment and the Liberal Party’s determination to stop any information on this new, innovative and Australian-leading program in relation to land rent being discussed in the Assembly. We understand their embarrassment. Their embarrassment flows from the fact that they have this single housing affordability initiative: the stamp duty exemption—un-means tested—on a first home purchase of up to half a million dollars. This proposal advantages most the people who have incomes of about $160,000—people who are really not in that tranche of residents of the ACT who are in genuine housing stress.

When it comes to a genuine housing affordability strategy such as the land rent scheme—one of 62 initiatives being actively pursued by the government—they are embarrassed. Their one and only election policy at this stage—namely, a stamp duty exemption; un-means tested for first home buyers—is seen for what it is. There is the paucity of ideas, policy or vision that is the Liberal Party today, contrasted with the ACT government’s broad ranging, targeted and well thought out policies in relation to this. That is why they are embarrassed. That is why they do not want this particular debate. That is why they tried to close down this question.

The land rent scheme will be a significant addition to the suite of policies that will benefit households through reducing entry costs most particularly and mortgage repayments. It will directly help those people within this community struggling to enter the housing market: young working families, young families with children and young families on gross incomes of under $75,000.

As I say, by way of comparison—and one needs to make this comparison—the Liberal Party’s no stamp duty, one and only policy, one size fits all policy, will most benefit those on incomes above $160,000 entering the housing market for the first time.

As we know, an excellent paper produced by Westpac banking has described the Liberal Party policy as a bandaid solution which will drive up house prices. It is

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