Page 1141 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 28 March 2017

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Since the announcement of the action plan first in 2007, and then over the first three phases of its implementation, the government’s affordable housing strategy has accelerated the supply of land, introduced a requirement that at least 20 per cent of all new estates are affordable housing, implemented programs to support affordable housing and land packages, and introduced the land rent scheme to reduce up-front costs for purchasers.

Tax reform has also lessened pressure on house prices to maintain a far better level of affordability against average income than in other jurisdictions. The government, through implementation of the action plan, has also tackled the problems of the provision of community and social housing, and ways to increase the supply of affordable accommodation for older Canberrans. The government has also introduced a home share program that brings together private owners with low income tenants with rent being paid in part by providing an agreed level of in-home care and services.

There is still a long way to go. This is why recently, in 2016, the ACT government hosted an affordable housing community workshop involving a number of organisations and key stakeholders. Following rigorous discussions with community members came a number of the government’s election commitments as well as the subsequent parliamentary agreement which outlines key goals for addressing affordable housing going into the future.

The government welcomes the public discussion that this issue has generated right across our community as well as here in the Assembly.

MR STEEL: How is this work targeted, minister, and how does it work alongside investments in social housing and specialist homelessness services?

MS BERRY: Although the ACT has higher than average incomes, the continued strength in both the purchase and rental markets has meant that housing affordability remains a key issue for many Canberrans, particularly for those in the lower two income quintiles, on household incomes of less than $90,000. One key example is the government’s investment in affordable rental accommodation through the national rental affordability scheme, with 1,552 new affordable rental dwellings now constructed and a further 394 in planning.

For community renters, the government has provided support to Community Housing Canberra through stock transfers, a line of credit and ongoing access to new land. This has resulted in the provision of 410 affordable rental properties and the outright sale of an additional 283 affordable properties. These initiatives have seen the construction of 2,650 homes at specific affordable price thresholds and the release of a further 2,025 sites under the more affordable land rent purchase model.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, how are discussions on housing affordability progressing at a national level? What input has the ACT government had?

MS BERRY: The ACT government welcomes the federal Treasurer’s recent enthusiasm for addressing the challenge of affordable housing. State and territory

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