Page 889 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 21 March 2018

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(b) so far as is reasonably practicable to do so—make the housing strategy available on a publicly accessible website.

I will be really interested to learn about the methodology the ACT government proposes to use to determine the housing supply. The sadly disbanded National Housing Supply Council produced data which detailed the amount of housing that was affordable and available to households in different income deciles. It did this by calculating the number of dwellings that would be affordable to people on low incomes but which were being rented by people on higher incomes. It would be really useful to know the demand for and availability of particular types of housing in the ACT.

It is worth noting that payments from the commonwealth as part of the national housing and homelessness agreement are based on a jurisdiction’s population. This funding formula means that states and territories that have a relatively high proportion of public housing, such as, fortunately, the ACT, are at a relative disadvantage to those with a low proportion of public housing.

At yesterday’s press club event, Professor Julian Disney noted that the most pressing and the single most helpful measure in responding to our housing affordability crisis is to increase the supply of affordable rental properties targeted to people on low and moderate incomes. This must include social housing targeted at households on very low incomes and affordable rental housing targeted at households on low and moderate incomes.

In conclusion, there are major benefits of having a more functional housing system where low and moderate income earners are able to access housing that meets their needs and which goes beyond the question of bricks and mortar. Of course the Greens support the overall intention of Mr Pettersson’s motion. We do, nevertheless, have concerns about the unacceptably low targets for affordable, public and community housing that have been published by the Suburban Land Agency. I sincerely hope that, as a result of Mr Pettersson’s motion and the new housing strategy, that will be released later this year that there will be a dramatic increase in the dwelling targets for affordable, community and public housing in 2018-19 and, even more importantly, an increase in actual affordable, community and public housing and an accompanying mechanism to better understand and respond to housing demand.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (6.04): In the debate over housing affordability we often lose focus on the fact that more than one or two approaches are available to us. Our focus often overlooks one of the most fundamental and sustainable approaches to housing affordability available: to increase the supply of the existing housing stock coming on the market. Often when we have this debate, we tend to talk almost exclusively in terms of increasing the housing supply by building more homes or by managing demand through subsidies or tax settings. The recent Grattan Institute report on housing affordability made recommendations on each of these measures, and it is certainly the case that governments at every level must continue to pursue reforms targeting these outcomes.

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