Page 1442 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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Without clear targets, we believe there is a risk that affordable housing will be considered as an afterthought, not as an integral starting point for the design of infill and greenfield developments. That is why the parliamentary agreement also includes the development of an affordable housing strategy. The work of both the City Renewal Agency and the Suburban Land Agency must take the affordable housing strategy, once developed, into account. And there need to be structures to prevent resale windfall profits and ensure that both these authorities can make sure this does not happen.

In a city as affluent as Canberra, we have a responsibility to ensure that low income earners can find affordable, sustainable and secure tenancies, and that first home buyers are able to enter the housing market. There are an ever-increasing number of people in our community who are living in housing stress, and we have a responsibility to ensure that opportunities are there for people in the lowest income quintiles to find suitable places to live. This bill provides an opportunity for us to get this right.

I move to governance. Mr Coe has spoken about this at some length. The Greens feel that this legislation addresses some of the governance issues. For instance, there are now clear conflict of interest provisions for the CEO and board members, and a requirement that the City Renewal Authority details how it will implement ministerial directions for the city renewal precincts. This provision should help avoid a repeat of the city to the lake controversy which was criticised in the Auditor-General’s 2016 report into the LDA land acquisitions. We have discussed the issue of the board composition and directions with the Labor Party, and I understand that they will be moving amendments in line with our suggestions. This will include increasing the number of board members so that there is a better spread of expertise, and having a duty of good conduct for both boards.

This is why the parliamentary agreement also requires the boards to include independent members with skills from the social and affordable housing sector. We want to see that the new agencies deliver best practice sustainable development, not just commercial returns to the government. The bill proposes boards of five members for each agency, but the Greens believe that an increase to seven would provide more opportunity for the board to cover all the needed skills. This fits in with the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ recommendations on the size of boards. We also think it is important to increase the size of the board given the real potential for conflicts of interest to occur within the board, given that Canberra is only a small city. We are looking and will continue to look carefully at the Liberals’ amendments along these lines and will have more to say about those at the detail stage.

One of the other issues with the LDA in the past which we hope will not be replicated with the new agencies is this: it has appeared that the LDA have taken on policy functions that go well beyond their mandate. They have basically been taking on planning functions, or it would appear that they have taken these on. I believe that some of this was cultural. The reasons this was cultural included that the LDA put land release and government profit at the forefront of policy decision-making, and other directorates were drawn into this vortex. This meant that decisions were not

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