Page 850 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 24 February 2009
administrative units and functions of the Treasurer. If it is not a function of the Treasurer, the Chief Minister should not table documents that are faulty and he might like to update the AAs.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Smyth. I will just take a moment to consider this. Looking at House of Representatives Practice, it is possible for ministers to pass a question on if they so choose. So there is no point of order.
MR STANHOPE: That was my point, that this is an issue which I, in discussion with the Treasurer, have agreed I would be responsible for; I am the minister that is across the issue and I am the minister that has been briefed. I am very happy to take the question.
The government, as I think now for some time—indeed, perhaps for more than two years—have been surprised at the willingness of the Liberal Party to not support the home ownership dream or aspiration of families now currently cut out of home ownership as a result of their household income and, most particularly, their disposable household income. I think the land rent scheme is an extremely good scheme; it is innovative.
Mr Hanson: The banks disagree with you.
MR STANHOPE: We will see. It is a scheme that certainly operates out of the square and has required a real effort at grappling with those issues of home ownership, particularly in this instance—and most specifically and first up—for households with combined incomes, total household incomes, of less than $75,000. And that was the genesis of the land rent scheme and my acceptance of it and the brief which officials within the Treasury and the Chief Minister’s Department had: to respond to a request or a demand by me and the government to think as laterally and to think as innovatively and creatively as possible to create home ownership opportunities for all Canberrans—not just for those Canberrans that are favoured by the Liberal Party but for all Canberrans, including those households in rental accommodation, with household incomes of less than $75,000—what can a government or a community do to guarantee them home ownership, the great Australian dream, the aspiration that each of us has, the hope of every family, to one day own their own home?
The facts are that nowhere in Australia will lending institutions make loans for mortgages significant enough to allow a household with an income of less than $75,000—this is a family, not an individual, a family—to borrow sufficient amounts to pay for land and then a house. You cannot pay off a $300,000 mortgage when your total household income is less than $75,000.
So we looked for a way to deal with that disability. And we found one, an excellent one, a land rent scheme, a scheme which, in its simplicity, is that the land will be rented, not purchased, obviating the need to borrow that first $100,000 or $120,000 to buy or pay for the land so that that $75,000 of income in that family can be devoted to the payment of a mortgage to cover the construction of a house on land which they rent.