Page 1188 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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support, we are yet to have the lender named. Has the Chief Minister contacted all those involved in the land rent scheme and informed them he has found a lender? If not, when does he expect to do so? This is a question that remains outstanding.

If the Stanhope-Gallagher government are serious about helping first home buyers, they should look at various ways of reforming the system. We constantly hear from this government about their affordable housing plan. We have seen some of the problems in that plan. We have seen the problems with land rent—the reluctance of banks and other financial institutions to lend under the scheme. But we have not seen the government address some of the core critical issues. They have tried to address it at a micro level, they have tried to address it in targeted schemes, which are failing, but they have not addressed some of the key problems, and some of those key problems are, of course, the slowness of land release and the inability of this government to respond, particularly at times of increased activity. They have not been able to respond as quickly as they should have to increases in demand.

We have also seen, as I have mentioned earlier in my speech, the slowdown or the bottlenecks in the planning system. All of these bottlenecks add to the time it takes to build a home and therefore add to the cost of building a home. Time is money, and delays for builders and developers in getting product onto the market mean that not only we do not see the kind of economic activity that we need at the moment but also over time that inevitably increases the costs. If there are significant delays as a result of the planning system not working, we see an increase in costs. So we see the cost of building more than it should be. We saw the price of land pushed up significantly by this government’s squeeze policy on land release. And, of course, we see taxation; this is a government that continues to charge first home buyers outrageous levels of taxation simply for the privilege of purchasing their own home.

It is interesting that the Chief Minister claims that to reduce stamp duty for first home buyers, to simply not charge them the outrageous levels of taxation that they are being charged at the moment, is inflationary. He claims this is inflationary, but presumably he does not have the same qualms about government handouts to first home buyers that are done for a limited period. So, on the one hand, we have handouts for a limited period—and we support them. We support them because they are doing something to lessen the cost of purchasing a home. For many people it will not even cover the cost of stamp duty, but we do welcome the fact that Kevin Rudd and his government recognise that first home buyers are doing it tough.

Jon Stanhope says that if you get rid of tax for first home buyers, stamp duty for first home buyers, that is inflationary—even though you are doing it over a period of time—so you do not have the rush to get into the housing market. People know that if you get rid of stamp duty for first home buyers for homes under $500,000, whether they buy this month or in six months time or in 12 months time, they will not be paying stamp duty. We cannot say the same for this scheme and I think that the Rudd government does need to consider in that context whether or not having it in the short space of time is the best policy setting. But, that said, we do support it.

But it is interesting that we have a Chief Minister who claims that cutting stamp duty, actually not charging first home buyers outrageous levels of taxation to buy a home, is

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