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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 173 ..

Mr Wellsmore’s explanation in relation to affordability. This is what Mr Wellsmore said; these are Mr Wellsmore’s words:

You have a situation in New South Wales where the medium house price in Sydney, for example, I think is around the $570,000; in Canberra it’s around the $460,000. So immediately you would think we’re a little more affordable.

But there’s a big disparity, where as at—in New South Wales, because the household income is around $80,000, I think there’s about 31 per cent of the household income goes towards your housing costs, for mortgage costs that is, whereas in the ACT it’s about 17.1 per cent. But the reason is because our household income is $120,000 a year.

There you have it, from the President of the Real Estate Institute of the ACT this week. The ACT government actively works to improve housing affordability for those who are not represented by these statistical averages—and, of course, these are statistical averages. We acknowledge that: there are many Canberrans, younger families and families without that average household disposable income that do have issues, do have challenges, in assessing affordable and appropriate housing—and that is why we have the nation’s leading housing affordability action plan.

We have massively accelerated land release: 3,400 sites in 2007-08, 4,300 in 2008-09 and over 4,000 this year—11,000 sites in three years. We have seen the success of OwnPlace: 45 houses happily occupied and 105 currently under construction. Land rent is proving a winner: 21 exchanges, 179 waiting to exchange. Fifteen per cent of house and land packages in all greenfields estates must be affordable—at this stage, house and land packages of under $300,000. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, does the Access Economics report which was recently released add anything to our understanding of this issue?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, it does. The Access Economics report of a week or two ago, I think it was, confirms that the government is not just heading in the right direction on housing affordability but is showing leadership in the area. You have to acknowledge and would concede that Access Economics is one of the more objective reporters in relation to these sorts of issues, national economic issues, and, of course, as the Treasurer has just indicated, there have been times when the reports of Access Economics do reflect on some of the areas where we have struggled in relation to economic growth. But here we have it again this week; once again we have the naysayers and the talkers down—those that will never lose an opportunity to trash this town. They are actually very well represented on the other side of this chamber.

The report released last month makes interesting reading and does validate our policy settings, particularly with respect to land release and the resultant impact on housing affordability. I will quote the following excerpt from the latest Access Economics report, which links the government’s accelerated land releases to the strength of the construction sector, which, in turn, has had the happy result, according to CommSec, of us being the most robust economic growth rate jurisdiction in Australia and with good outlooks for the future. Access Economics says:

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