Page 1387 - Week 04 - Thursday, 30 March 2017
Of course, it is not just on the east of the ACT; it is also to the west. There are estates like Fairley in Murrumbateman that are very well subscribed, despite the fact that it could well be an hour-long drive in the morning, and despite the fact that it is a 30 or 35-kilometre commute. People are still choosing to live there because they simply cannot get land in the ACT.
When you drive on our arterial roads or when you leave Canberra Airport, you see enormous parcels of land that are available for development. In actual fact, the government have earmarked so many of these parcels of land for development, yet they are simply gouging Canberrans by driving up the price in order to meet their desired investment return from the Land Development Agency.
Madam Speaker, it has been put to us by the government that the Land Development Agency is efficient. Actually, it is not. It is not efficient when it comes to the delivery of land, be it the efficiency in bringing land to market or in bringing land to market at a reasonable price. If you look at where the affordable land has been released in Canberra over the past 10 or 15 years, it has primarily been through private developments, most notably west Macgregor, which was done by the Village Building Company. It has not been done by the Land Development Agency.
You would think that the Land Development Agency might buck the trend in terms of the market and try to deliver more affordable housing. In actual fact, it has been the other way. It has been the private sector which has developed the more affordable housing in Canberra, and it has been the Land Development Agency which has, in effect, gone for the cream of the market, gone for the most expensive. I think that is a travesty. It is a travesty for any government, but certainly for a Labor government, which claims to be about inclusivity and equality.
This point has been raised most notably by the former Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope. He has said that housing affordability is his single biggest regret. He said:
It’s virtually impossible to turn back. The best you can do is seek to stabilise and we haven't even been able to achieve that. Not only has no progress been made in relation to affordability, but I believe we’re probably going backwards.
The former Chief Minister is, of course, an authority in this space, given his extraordinary experience in this space and, indeed, in this place, with regard to the supply of housing. So when you have someone like that rebuke the government, surely that would be an opportunity for them to take stock.
What we have seen today is that each of the speakers has been complicit in this government’s poor strategy to gouge Canberrans, because none of them has taken some responsibility and said, “I’m part of a government that has contributed to the problem, but I want to be part of a government that’s going to fix it.” Instead they all just gave themselves a pat on the back and blamed the feds, because that is what they do. That is in effect the trick that they just keep on wheeling out at every opportunity: simply blame the feds. I do not buy it, and I do not think many Canberrans buy it, and