Page 886 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 21 March 2018
charge which is on so many units that are purchased these days, except, of course, if you are the Canberra Labor Club and you are doing a development in Braddon, in which case you do not need to pay lease variation charge or change of use charge for those 36 apartments. There is no change of use charge there; no lease variation charge. It is a pretty good deal if you can get it. Of course, with the Labor Club, “It’s all about you!”—can make it happen.
Mr Pettersson could also put together a motion to try to get the government to at least remove some of the pressure that they are putting on land release by not strangling the market as much as they are, because they really are strangling the land release in Canberra, and that is why we are seeing the cost of land go up at such a huge rate. That is why you get land at $1,000 a square metre in Throsby. That is why the land to construction ratio is at times 60-40, as opposed to times gone by, when it was more like 20-80.
Another piece of advice that Mr Pettersson would do well to take on board would be to spend some time with the dear leader himself, Mr Stanhope—to sit down and have a chat about housing affordability. Rather than patting yourselves on the back and saying, “We’re all doing a great job,” you might like to go to confession with Mr Stanhope—go into that booth and admit exactly what this government has created. Admit the housing stress. Admit the cost of land. Admit the rates increases. Admit the land tax increases. Admit the record stamp duty. Mr Stanhope might be able to pass on some of the advice that he has given so many other Canberrans through his various articles.
The Labor-Greens government have failed on housing affordability. There are no two ways about it: they have failed. In addition to that, in addition to the words of Mr Stanhope, there are academics such as Professor Peter Phibbs from the University of Sydney. He has more than 20 years of experience in housing research. Earlier this year he said in the Canberra Times that the ACT government’s affordable housing targets were so small that they are almost insignificant.
This is a progressive government; this is a government that is supposedly about people who are struggling. Of course, Professor Phibbs, Mr Stanhope, Dr Ahmed and just about every other academic or expert in this space are all criticising the government with regard to how they have managed housing in this city.
Professor Phibbs pointed out that the government’s high land sales profit margins far exceeded the industry standard. I interpret that as gouging. When you have the government owning the land, controlling how much is released and also controlling the planning system, that is one big gouge. That is exactly how you would describe this government’s housing policy. If there is one word to describe this housing policy, it is “gouging”. That is how they operate: they squeeze at the land; they squeeze at stamp duty; they squeeze in construction; they squeeze in rates; and they squeeze in land tax. On every single step this government has put massive burdens, and that is why we have a massive housing affordability issue.
You can have all of these schemes and strategies to try to treat the symptoms but, rather than treat the symptoms, how about going to the cause? And the cause is this government’s management of every aspect of housing policy.