Page 2325 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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That is why there is such exceptional demand in Queanbeyan, in Jerrabomberra, in Googong, in Tralee and in other developments just over the border.

It is my belief that a lot of people that are buying just over the border in New South Wales would actually rather live here in the ACT. I do not think they are going to New South Wales developments necessarily as their first option. I think their first option would be to stay in the ACT where they grew up. But the fact is that this government has made purchasing a property near impossible for so many families in the ACT.

It is for that reason the Queanbeyan City Council and the New South Wales government are cashing in on this jurisdiction’s problems and making developments over the border in Queanbeyan far more attractive comparatively. So it is no wonder that we see people going across there in droves. The Queanbeyan City Council is responding to the very high thresholds that we have here in the ACT and making a very attractive marketplace just over the border.

Mr Assistant Speaker, in conclusion, the Canberra Liberals think that this government does have a misguided approach to the property sector here in the ACT. It is first homebuyers who struggle. It is people already in the market that struggle. It is people who have pride in the ACT and want to stay in the ACT that suffer as a result of this government’s misguided policies. Rather than being a blueprint for a strong economy, I think what we have in this budget when it comes to the property sector is more taxes and more gouging of Canberrans.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.10): The provision of housing, particularly the provision of a spectrum of housing options, is a difficult challenge. I believe the government has an obligation to provide first and foremost for those most in need. To do this we have in place a range of measures. Some of these include providing additional assistance to those who can afford housing but for whom a little extra assistance can mean they move along the spectrum into their own house. In some circumstances this will mean they “free up” more affordable housing for those who cannot afford their own home.

The degree to which this idea is realised in real life is, of course, difficult to ascertain. Given this difficulty we need to be very careful to ensure that public resources are used where they are needed the most. The motion makes a number of notes about the provision of housing assistance measures in the budget. I think they are essentially observations of fact.

One of the areas I would particularly like to turn to is the issue of the first home owner grant. Members will remember that in previous debates on this issue the failure of the grant has been highlighted at some length. Certainly my colleagues in the previous Assembly made some observations to this effect.

There is no doubt, and all the evidence confirms, that the first home owner grant has been a failure and an almost complete waste of taxpayers’ money. Reports from the Senate Select Committee on Housing Affordability in Australia, the Productivity Commission and the OECD all show that demand side assistance does nothing more

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