Page 3630 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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The various national partnerships on housing affordability, rental affordability and homelessness are vital to the ACT government’s response to these problems, and there is some uncertainty to date on what the new government will do in this area. In fact, far from there being uncertainty, there is actually no policy. With a number of these agreements due to come to an end in June 2014, this uncertainty or this vacuum is making it difficult for services to properly plan for the future. It is quite vital that the federal government soon makes it clear what it intends to do on these national partnership agreements—whether it intends to continue providing funding or if it is going to leave a massive black hole when it comes to tackling some of these issues.

During the election campaign the Australian Greens bought forward a fully costed and comprehensive national housing road map that contained nine key policies addressing the full spectrum of housing needs from social housing to private rental and home ownership. I will be talking with my federal colleagues about this uncertainty about the national programs, and we will be continuing to raise these needs for the ACT at every opportunity I have, including with the federal minister.

I raise the federal policy debates simply to make it clear that this is a major problem facing all levels of government in all jurisdictions. Australia is facing an affordability crisis; and there is a clear need for collaboration and innovation to successfully overcome it. On a local level, I would like to acknowledge the work of Minister Barr. The affordable housing action plan, now in phase III, has provided a strong environment in which to grow affordable housing.

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR RATTENBURY: Far from being the sort of interjection that you make, Mr Hanson, it is actually about the fact that these policies have delivered real outcomes on the ground that most interests me, not the banter that you carry on with in this place.

The ACT government is to be commended for recognising the need and taking positive, proactive steps to improve the situation. That is work that needs to continue, to bridge some of the remaining gaps that exist on the spectrum of housing.

The ACT, as is often the case, presents some unique characteristics to consider. The recent housing affordability report from the Real Estate Institute of Australia indicated that the ACT was the most affordable housing market in Australia based on the home loan affordability indicator, which aims to capture the effect of the main influences on housing affordability, namely average incomes, the average size of a home loan and average interest rates. It is the average incomes component of this formula that presents the real challenge to policymakers in the ACT, as we all know that we have some of the highest wages in the country per head of population.

On the other hand, we also know that the rental market in the ACT, while relaxing slightly in recent times, has historically been amongst the highest in the country. Affordable housing refers to dwellings which households on low to moderate incomes can afford while meeting other essential living costs. It includes public housing, not-

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