Page 2030 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Construction industry—building approvals
MR WALL: My question is to the Treasurer. Building approval data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 2 May 2013 shows that in trend terms in March the ACT recorded a 1.2 per cent fall in building approvals. And last night the commonwealth handed down a budget that will put further pressure on the cost of living for ACT families. Treasurer, taking into account the effect of the federal budget on the cost of living for Canberra families, what assessment have you made of future building approval trends?
MR BARR: Yes, the member is correct that on that release on 2 May there was a decrease of 1.2 per cent in that period. I do note, just looking at the data, that it is coming off an all-time record high level of approvals and does appear to be above the five-year monthly average. There were 338 residential building approvals in that period; the five-year monthly average is 324. So whilst it is not as high as the, I think, nearly 500 approvals that were achieved back in the final quarter of the 2011 fiscal year, it still is above the long run trend.
The government will, of course, look at what measures we can take in the coming budget. We have a significant land release program ahead of us and I think some exciting opportunities in various parts of the city to continue the city’s urban growth.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.
MR WALL: Treasurer, what strategies does your government have to counter the impact of the federal budget on the cost of living for Canberra families?
MR BARR: I am not sure how that question relates to the first one. It was about building approvals.
MADAM SPEAKER: The first question, as I recall, asked about building approvals and did mention the cost of living. Did you mention the cost of living in the first question, Mr Wall?
Mr Wall: Yes, Madam Speaker, the question did relate to the cost of living. The first question was: taking into account the effect of the federal budget on the cost of living for Canberra families, what assessment have you made of future building approval trends?
MADAM SPEAKER: It does relate.
Mr Wall: So the supplementary does relate.
MADAM SPEAKER: Yes.
MR BARR: The government will make an assessment of the various outcomes that are affecting the macro-economy. I do note that interest rates fell and are now, I think, at historic lows. Those who are in the housing market and have a mortgage,