Page 3457 - Week 09 - Thursday, 21 August 2008

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22.4 per cent of the average household income required to meet loan repayments compared to 38 per cent nationally and with 17.5 per cent of the average household income required to meet average weekly rents compared to 24.7 per cent nationally, the government does, of course, understand that not all Canberrans are as prosperous and as well off as others and that there continues to be significant housing stress for very many Canberrans.

It is because of our acknowledgement and sensitivity that the government are deeply concerned about making housing more affordable for all Canberrans, particularly those on low to middle incomes. This government understands that to truly be able to manipulate the housing market, we need to consider supply and demand mechanisms, and our affordable housing action plan does just that. Unlike those opposite, who propose to actually drive up demand and, through that, drive up house prices, this government is seeking supply-side solutions.

Through the affordable housing action plan, the government has accelerated the release of land to the market. We released more than 3,400 blocks in 2007-08, the largest residential land release program since self-government. We propose to release 4,200 blocks in this financial year, with an average of 2,750 blocks over the following four years. To ensure that the government are in a position to respond quickly to further increases in demand, we are developing a supply of release-ready sites. These sites will have the appropriate planning in place and be available for release, if required.

Home buyers also now have more options than ever before. The government are now releasing land in more ways than ever before, with land now being offered for sale directly through the Land Development Agency, through ballots and directly over the counter. Land is also available through private developers and builders. In fact, right now, today, there are over 600 new blocks of land and house and land packages available for sale in Canberra. Families and individuals looking to purchase their new homes or land can buy land or house and land packages in Casey, Forde, Franklin, Bonner, Dunlop, West Macgregor and Uriarra. In addition to those 600 land or house and land packages currently available for sale, there are 2,300 blocks about to be released in Casey, Bonner, Forde, Franklin and West Macgregor. These blocks will all become homes for Canberrans, future homes for all of us.

Mr Speaker, it is only through increasing supply that we can improve the affordability of housing in the territory, and the government are doing just that. We can see the proof that our action plan is working. The latest Housing Industry Association state outlook for the ACT released, I think, just this week shows that first home buyer affordability in the ACT increased by 10 per cent in the June quarter of 2008. That is a sure sign that the government strategy to tackle affordable housing is having a real impact on affordable housing, through initiatives such as our requirement that at least 15 per cent of all house and land packages in new estates must be under $300,000 and through our innovative land rent scheme. The government is serious about ensuring that all Canberrans have access to affordable housing, regardless of their personal circumstances.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter?

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