Page 1309 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2009

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In the ACT now, in an average Canberra household—of course, we always accept in relation to averages that there are a significant number of Canberrans under enormous stress—for those of us that fall within that description, 18 per cent of our disposable income is required to meet our mortgage commitments as against the national average of 35 per cent. The difference is as stark as that. According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia housing affordability index, we pay, on average—we accept that large cohort of Canberrans under significant stress—18 per cent as against the national average of around 35 per cent.

One of the other aspects in relation to this issue of land affordability is, of course, the extent to which there is still significant activity against national comparatives here in the ACT as against other places around Australia. Over the last year to January, residential building approvals rose in the territory. The number of housing finance commitments, while they fell in all jurisdictions, had the lowest fall of any jurisdiction here in the ACT. We had the second largest increase in the number of dwelling commencements—6.7 per cent.

On some of the indicators over the last year there remains room for some confidence that the lower house prices and the level of activity within the housing sector will continue. We are at this stage continuing to buck the trend, and let us keep our fingers crossed that we can maintain that.

In relation to specific initiatives I am pleased to be able to report the significant progress that has been made. At the moment, for instance, as a result of larger land releases and the 15 per cent requirement we make in relation to all greenfield developments, we see that around Canberra at the moment there are in excess of 350 blocks or house and land packages for sale in new estates and new developments.

I have seen some commentary over the last couple of weeks about just the LDA’s contribution to that and things that the Leader of the Opposition has been saying about that, reflective, he says, of the fact that there is no land available, that land supply has not kept up with demand. He ignores, of course, all of those other developers who now are contributing significant proportions, particularly through englobo releases. There are, in fact, today, I am told, in excess of 350 dwelling sites and house and land packages for sale around the ACT. That really is a reflection of all of the initiatives which we pursued through our housing affordability strategy.

I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Roads—safety signs

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, it has been drawn to my attention that the statement I made before that Mr Smyth is the only person in this place that has lost three elections in a row is not correct. I have been advised that Mrs Dunne has also lost three elections in a row, two as a member and one as a non-member. So I apologise to Mrs Dunne for inadvertently leaving her out of the description of the greatest loser in the territory.

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