Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3245 ..
the report. This trend is exacerbating the gap with respect to those who cannot afford private rentals and cannot afford the government’s affordable housing but equally are unable to access public housing or at least must stay on the list.
A headline in the Canberra Times on 9 August 2008 said it all: “The ACT housing crisis appears to be much worse than the government says”. The community housing providers are turning people away, including those recent homeowners who have defaulted. This government has delayed action for too long and is still doing nothing much for community housing.
I thank Ms MacDonald for bringing this matter on today. It is an important matter to discuss and one that this government continues to be in denial over.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (4.33): Access to affordable and appropriate housing is a basic right that we are all entitled to. That is why my government is committed to ensuring that all Canberrans have access to safe, secure, affordable housing.
To help address the issue, a little over a year ago the government issued an action plan for housing affordability that is the most comprehensive ever attempted by an Australian government. The report was extremely well received by the community, with industry bodies unanimously welcoming the plan. Peak housing bodies, including the Master Builders Association and the Property Council of Australia, supported the plan. Not only did the Property Council describe the plan as the best of the breed, but Ms Catherine Carter, its executive officer, described the progress of the plan as the Chief Minister “underpinning better quality, more affordable housing development, in double-quick time”. That is the Property Council of Australia’s assessment of this plan and the progress in its implementation.
Our plan has gone on to attract attention from other Australian states and was endorsed by the Senate select committee for affordable housing. Officials in my department are regularly called on to provide information to outsiders, even by departments in other countries, due to the success and broad-ranging nature of the action plan to address affordable housing.
Our plan considered supply and demand and identified the levers the government might be able to manipulate to bring about sustainable, long-term change influencing affordability. The plan contains 62 initiatives, which focus on ways to make home ownership more affordable; ensure there is affordable private rental accommodation available; provide community and not-for-profit housing for those on low-middle incomes; improve our public housing to see that it meets the needs of those who need it most; and improve access to supported accommodation, including emergency housing.
The government understands that the only true way to tackle the affordability of housing is to simply increase the supply of affordable housing. The government is doing that. The government has accelerated its land release program, with more than