Page 2058 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 7 June 2017

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To conclude, I commit to reporting back to the Assembly by the last sitting day in November 2017 on a plan for the delivery of a housing demonstration project which addresses the matters that I have spoken about today.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (6.21): I rise today to speak on Ms Le Couteur’s motion regarding the development of demonstration precincts in the ACT. I would like to thank Ms Le Couteur for bringing forward such an interesting motion and to say that in principle we agree with many aspects of this motion.

It is easy to see that around us the world is changing rapidly and these changes within our community mean that our housing requirements and preferences change as well. These include things such as, but not limited to, the ageing of the population, economic conditions that may make it difficult for young people to purchase a home and get into the housing market, and growing population. There is also the need to fit potentially more people into less space, and that will shape the future of home design.

We often talk about the great Australian dream of home ownership. It has been a longstanding desire of many Australians to own their own piece of suburbia. But we are moving away more and more, it would appear, from that dream of a block of land in suburbia with the Hills hoist in the back yard and a barbecue on the back patio to having, for many people, an apartment in the city with a joint washer/dryer and a few restaurants and cafes with good coffee within walking distance. While the styles and desires might be changing, the great Australian dream remains for most Australians and certainly for many people in the ACT.

In past generations some families moved to the ACT with that desire to own their own affordable house. But for the next generation, for my children and my grandchildren, that is becoming increasingly difficult. But by being innovative, by supporting innovation in the housing industry, we can try to make the Australian dream a bit more achievable for people, and that is why we agree with many parts of this motion.

The use of urban infill is one way that we can assist to do this but we must make sure that this is in line with community expectation, that the properties of the future are of good design and are innovative, that planning requirements do not stifle design and that the private sector and the market lead the process so that we can discover what truly works and what does not. We will discover what people will buy and what they will not. Having the private sector lead that process is usually the best way to determine that.

We must also allow risks so that those who invest have opportunity for reward. We also need to think about the full spectrum, the full range of the housing continuum. Ms Le Couteur referred to tiny houses which is just one very small example on that housing continuum. Whether it is tiny houses, apartments, units, there are a whole lot of different models of ownership as well that need to be considered—and there is home ownership and there is rental—because there are some people who do not want to own their own home and may never want to own their own home and we must enable them to fully participate in the housing spectrum as well.

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