Page 3233 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 19 August 2008

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The government’s plan also includes innovative initiatives which are attracting a lot of attention, such as the land rent scheme. This initiative allows eligible households to rent the land component of their property and has been designed to help the number of Canberrans who might not otherwise be able to experience the security of buying their own home.

Through land rent, households on less than $75,000 can choose to rent the land component at a concessional rate that is well below what a mortgage rate would be. Through land rent, many more Canberrans on low to middle incomes will be able to purchase their own homes.

Through the affordable housing action plan the government provides enhanced stamp duty concessions for eligible first homebuyers by allowing the deferral of payment of stamp duty for five years. The government understands the costs involved for ordinary Canberrans on modest incomes in moving homes and particularly moving into their first home, which is why we offer the stamp duty deferral. It is so that first homebuyers can settle into their new homes before paying the duty. The government has also increased the stamp duty income threshold to $120,000 a year, acknowledging that while as a community our incomes have been rising, so too has the general cost of living.

Increasing the threshold ensures that Canberrans in need of assistance continue to be eligible for the stamp duty concession scheme. Through the introduction of the pensioner stamp duty concession scheme the government provides assistance for pensioners who are looking to move into more suitable accommodation. This helps to free up homes for younger families.

The government understands that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to own their own home, which is why we have plans to increase the supply of affordable rental accommodation. The government has called for expressions of interest from institutional investors to implement an affordable private rental scheme which will provide 200 to 400 additional rental dwellings for Canberrans. The government is also exploring options for a home share program which would provide accommodation for low-income singles or students and support older people to remain in their homes. The government will undertake a pilot program of this initiative for a 12-month period.

To help private tenants understand their rights, the government has increased funding to the tenants advice service by $80,000. The government is also working closely with the federal government and assisting in the implementation of the national rental affordability scheme, which will provide incentives to private developers to provide affordable rental accommodation. Once online, these initiatives will help increase the supply of affordable rental housing in the territory.

The government is committed to ensuring that all Canberrans have access to affordable housing, particularly those on low to middle incomes. The government acknowledges the vital role and responsibility that community housing has in our community and we are supporting CHC Affordable Housing to deliver 1,000 new affordable properties over the next 10 years. To help CHC achieve this, the

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