Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 18 June 2009) . . Page.. 2583 ..
participate in the consultation process and to provide a comment on the scheme. Only the Consumer Law Centre, legal aid and the ACT Law Society chose to meet one on one with the government officials to discuss outstanding concerns with the scheme. All other groups were satisfied that the design of the scheme resolved the concerns of the Assembly and expressed their continued support for the scheme.
Ms Harris from the ACT Law Society did not have any concerns with the design of the scheme. However, she did comment on the many negative perceptions about the scheme in the ACT community. In order to address these misconceptions, Ms Harris suggested changing the scheme to more closely resemble previous land rent schemes in the ACT through fixing the price of the land. The proposed change was discussed at length in the meeting. It was concluded that fixing the land price was not a viable option as it would distort the ACT property market.
Representatives from legal aid and the Consumer Law Centre met with government officials in late May. Both groups expressed their support for the scheme and did not raise any major concerns around the design of the scheme. As expected, both groups raised issues about the welfare of lower income participants, including overall costs, interest repayments, home insurance and information sharing between the government and financial institutions.
Both groups were reassured of the many provisions which ensure affordability for lower income participants, particularly through the cap on land rent repayments and the income test. At no stage during the consultation process did any of the groups consulted request a change be made to the policy. Therefore, the government remained confident that the scheme deals with all areas of concern raised by the Assembly and that no changes to legislation are necessary.
Just for the information of members, so that there is no confusion here, during the consultation process, which engaged the Consumer Law Centre, legal aid, the ACT Law Society, the Master Builders Association, the Housing Industry Association, ACT Shelter and the Australian Property Institute, they each advised that they supported the scheme in its current form—
Mr Seselja: What about financiers? There are no financiers on your list.
MR STANHOPE: and recommended that no changes be made.
Mr Seselja: Why didn’t you consult with the mortgage brokers and bankers?
MR STANHOPE: Let me just repeat that, over the interjections from Mr Seselja: they recommended that no changes be made to the legislation.
Mr Seselja: You did not consult the financiers.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Seselja!
MR STANHOPE: The Assembly had some concerns around the issues of affordability for participants and that of negative equity. I would like to progress those today. The land rent scheme reduces the entry and ongoing housing costs for lessees.