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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 August 2008) . . Page.. 3458 ..

MS PORTER: Will the Chief Minister advise the Assembly on how Canberrans can access the land rent scheme he mentioned?

MR STANHOPE: The groundbreaking land rent scheme is raising an awful lot of interest in the community. Land rent, which makes up part of our affordable housing action plan, provides yet another option to help more Canberrans realise that great Australian dream of owning their own home.

The land rent scheme is designed to help people get a foot in the housing market—people who otherwise would have no alternative but to rent as they save for a home of their own. The scheme gives a choice to people to buy the land they are renting at a later date once they have had an opportunity to save some money or their financial situation has improved. Alternatively, they may wish to continue renting the land, knowing that they have ongoing security of tenure in their own home. The land rent scheme will make housing more affordable by allowing households on incomes as modest as $50,000 a year to rent rather than buy the land component of a house and land package at a concessional rate.

Since the introduction of the scheme on 1 July 2008, the Canberra Institute of Technology has run five three-hour-long information sessions on the land rent scheme for interested Canberrans. All five of the information sessions were fully booked, with places in future sessions filling fast. Attendance at one of these sessions is compulsory for anyone who would like to access the new scheme, to ensure that people who engage in the land rent scheme understand their commitments and to ensure that the scheme is in fact suitable for them.

The very first land rent agreements are now being finalised and I look forward to welcoming the first Canberrans to this scheme shortly. This is despite claims from the opposition that the scheme would not work, that the scheme would only result in negative equity.

Detailed analysis by Treasury found that both land and house prices increase in value over time. Treasury has done a detailed analysis of a reasonable sample of homes in Canberra that had been newly constructed in the last six years. The study was mindful not to include properties where the houses had been significantly altered since they were constructed. What did the Treasury analysis find? On average, house prices increased by around 10 per cent a year and land prices increased by around 16 per cent a year. In no case in the Treasury sample did the value of a single house fall.

That puts the lie to the opposition’s claims. All we have ever seen of the Liberals’ policy for housing affordability is a suggestion from a leading financial institution, Westpac, that removing stamp duty for first home buyers will make the cost of housing for all Canberrans more expensive. The land rent scheme will provide Canberrans on low incomes with the opportunity to own their own home without going into negative equity.

Gas-fired power station

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, in your written directive to Mr Brooke O’Mahoney relating to the Tuggeranong power station

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