Page 2322 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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This is a significant outcome for homebuyers in the ACT. If that home happens to be the family’s first, they will also be able to take advantage of a $5,500 increase the first home owner grant, which would increase to $12,500 from 1 September 2013. Coinciding with this increase, the first home owner grant will only apply to new or substantially renovated homes.

This change will further support construction activity and increase Canberra’s housing supply. It will also align the first home owner grant in the ACT with other states, including New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. These changes are merely the latest in a long line of housing initiatives implemented by this government. They date back to the release of our first affordable housing action plan in 2007.

Now in its third phase, the action plan has introduced a total of 98 housing affordability initiatives to the territory, the vast majority of which have already been completed. To name just a few of the achievements, we have, firstly, released over 16,000 new building sites to the market in the first four years of our accelerated land release program between 2008-09 and 2011-12.

Secondly, we have exchanged or settled more than 1,300 land rent scheme contracts; 1,300 land rent scheme contracts! Fourthly, we have required that 20 per cent of all new buildings in greenfield developments are delivered at an affordable price. Fifthly, we have introduced the LDA’s OwnPlace program, which is delivering over 450 homes straight to moderate income earners; 428 homes have already been completed.

We have also contributed to the delivery of thousands of new affordable rental dwellings under the national rental affordability scheme, making us the most successful jurisdiction per capita in Australia. This includes 2,000 affordable new dwellings for the ACT’s university students, which will also benefit the broader rental market. We have supported the community housing sector to grow its capacity. We have reduced land tax on properties with lower land values to increase the supply of affordable rental dwellings in the private market.

Combined with these achievements, it is the government’s changes to homebuyer assistance schemes, such as the first home owner grant and stamp duty concessions, that will continue to deliver positive housing affordability outcomes for Canberra into our second century.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (4.59): The government has had a misguided approach to the provision of property here in the ACT and enabling individuals and families to purchase property here in the ACT by almost indicator in almost any survey put out by any reputable body. Whether you look at rent or look at purchase prices, here in the ACT we are always at the top of the table. The fact is that that keeps many people out of our property market. It means that for many people who grow up here in the ACT, they will not be able to buy a house in the place where they grew up. I think that is a tragedy.

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