Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 August 2015) . . Page.. 2372 ..
governments phase out conveyancing stamp duties, to be achieved through a transition to more efficient taxes, potentially including land taxation levied on a broader base than is currently the case. That is something the ACT government is seeking to do, and it is something the Canberra Liberals have argued vociferously against.
There were a number of other recommendations made with the intention of ensuring that urban planning and zoning processes have a positive effect on housing affordability. There was also a clear need for the improvement of current commonwealth and state and territory agreements—the national affordable housing agreement, NAHA, and partnership arrangements such as the national partnership agreement on homelessness, NPAH.
I could go on, but I will close by noting that the ACT is looking to undertake much of this work where applicable here and now, and yet we are still waiting for the commonwealth to come to the party. Ms Berry’s amendment that seeks to work with regional local governments on a regional approach to housing and homelessness is also very welcome. It indicates a government responding to the evidence and taking the right steps forward. I look forward to seeing the report back to the Assembly on these actions to address these complex issues.
I thank Ms Lawder for her ongoing advocacy on housing and homelessness in the Assembly and for bringing this motion today. It is appropriate that the Assembly discuss these matters this week. I indicate that I will be supporting Ms Lawder’s proposed amendment. She raises a subtle but nonetheless important point about terminology, and I am happy to support her amendment on that basis.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.22): I will speak to Ms Berry’s amendment. I will focus a little more on the affordable housing action plan. It is mentioned very briefly in Ms Berry’s amendment, in paragraph (1)(i), which says:
(i) the work that the Government has been doing since 2007 on increasing the supply of affordable housing through the Affordable Housing Action Plan;
But as we have already heard, according to the former Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, this report remains largely unimplemented. We also heard a comment earlier about the housing affordability issue right across the country. That is absolutely correct. But sometimes what happens for us here in the ACT is that when we compare our housing affordability to Sydney and Melbourne, it allows us to make it look like our housing is a bit more affordable because we are comparing it to Sydney, Melbourne or some other city. Of course, the median household income in the ACT makes those comparisons quite difficult. We have a median household income, according to the ABS, of around $110,000 per household. But that is potentially nowhere near what the average household may have, which is probably more like $90,000. That is far more likely than the median.
There is a saying that you are in a housing crisis if you spend more than 30 per cent of your income on your housing costs, whether that is rental or mortgage. As Mr Stanhope said in the article he wrote back in June this year, for a household with a