Page 2675 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 23 June 2009

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MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Let us hear from the Chief Minister.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank Ms Burch for the question and for her interest in the welfare of Canberrans who hitherto have been denied the dream of home ownership.

Just a short while ago I had the very great pleasure of announcing that one of the most significant and most trusted financial institutions in this city and one of the biggest credit unions in the country, Community CPS Australia, is to become the first major finance provider to support the ACT government’s land rent scheme.

Today is a great day for policy innovation, a great day for bold thinking, a great day for a government with a social conscience. It sends a message that it is worth striving and even worth bearing some short-term political pain if it means that one has the chance at the end of it to extend a helping hand to Canberrans who would otherwise struggle to realise the dream of home ownership.

Today is a great day for Community CPS Australia—a genuinely community minded financial institution whose vision is to help its members reach their personal goals. Community CPS Australia has been a familiar and trusted presence for good in this town since 1958. For four decades it has been the city’s largest home grown financial institution, and since the merger of our local CPS with the South Australian CPS Credit Union it has grown into an institution with branches in four states and territories, managing $2.6 billion in assets.

Currently it has $2.1 billion in loans and $2.2 billion in deposits. In 2008 the prestigious Money magazine awarded Community CPS the title of “Credit Union of the Year”. Today CPS shows why it deserves such accolades. In 2009 and today Community CPS is showing the same forward thinking attitude, the same astuteness and the same degree of attachment to the community that has made so many Canberrans put their trust and their wealth in its care for the past 40 years.

The land rent scheme is a serious and purposeful bid to help Canberrans of modest means into their own homes. We are going into it without putting territory finances at risk. We are doing it without encouraging households to borrow more than they should. Indeed, that is the great beauty of land rent. It is not about providing cheaper or low-start loans, which are always vulnerable to interest rate fluctuations.

Land rent structurally reduces the barriers to home ownership. By compartmentalising the house from the land on which it sits, land rent enables families to commit to a much smaller and much more manageable loan. Land rent is giving hope to young families who have believed themselves not to belong to the ranks of those who might aspire to own their own home. The ACT government is not prepared, like the Liberal Party, to consign such families to the too-hard basket. Today Community CPS Australia has shown that it is not prepared to do so either.

Coupled with other aspects of the ACT government’s ground breaking housing affordability action plan, including the mandated 15 per cent of affordable dwellings

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