Page 4810 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 20 October 2010

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MR SESELJA: Sorry, my apologies. I did provide it to each of the offices.

MR SPEAKER: If you could hand it over now, that would be good.

MR SELSEJA: Yes, I am happy to hand it over and I will be happy to move it in a moment. But it can be circulated.

So the median house price went from, in 2002, $245,000 to $525,000 in 2009. I think that gives some indication of just how things have changed in the Canberra market and the difficulties that many people face in purchasing in those circumstances. With that more than doubling of the median price, there is no doubt that, in those 7½ years from March 2002 to December 2009, wages have not doubled and that the cost of living of other things has also gone up. So the burden of purchasing a house now for a first homebuyer in that kind of environment is far greater than it was. We need to look at some of the reasons for that.

Before we look at some of those reasons, it is worth looking at the most recent land release from the government, which is in Molonglo. We asked some questions about this, about the cost per square metre of a block in Molonglo. We asked this question and had this answer: with respect to the average sale price for a block sold in Molonglo, the average sale price per square metre was $701. That is a significant amount of money. To put that into context, that would mean a 500-metre block would be roughly $350,000. In anyone’s language, that is a significant investment. If you talk about the main land release now in the south of Canberra, and the only land release now in the south of Canberra, you are talking about paying $700 per square metre if you want to purchase a block of land in that area.

The HIA-Commonwealth Bank figures show that, in fact, affordability continues to be a problem in the ACT, that over the past year, on the latest figures, there was a 14.7 per cent deterioration in affordability and that families now purchasing a home need about $3,000 a month in order to service the average mortgage. Three thousand dollars a month just in mortgage repayments is something that most people on an average income are not going to be able to service—or, if they are, it is going to be with a significant degree of difficulty.

That is the scale of the problem. There is no doubt that if you are a young family now, unless you are on a particularly high income, and even those on good incomes, on what we would consider to be medium to high incomes, will struggle with those kinds of numbers. That is the feedback that I get from the community, and I think the numbers and the statistics bear that out.

The question is: why has it become so? And there are a number of reasons. But there are a lot of things that the government contributes to. The government is not responsible for all of this, but for the government in the ACT, I think it would be difficult to argue against the fact that the ACT government would be the government that has the most ability to influence prices of any jurisdiction. I think it is fair to say that, given our unique system here in the ACT, where you have the government owning all of the unleased land, the government, as the largest landowner and

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