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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3334 ..

Katy Gallagher, when she entered this place in 2001, said, “Long-term residents of Canberra’s suburbs could be forced out of their homes due to rates increases.” Whether they like it or not, this argument still stands today. This is Katy Gallagher, who went on to become the Chief Minister, talking about rates.

This government is continually and recklessly promoting that tax grab through rates and through land sales. We are reminded—I think they were spurred on by the Henry tax review—that in the Quinlan tax review, quite famously, Ted Quinlan said, “Squeeze them until they bleed, but not until they die.”

Mr Barr has selectively applied recommendations from a number of different sources, including the Australians for affordable housing campaign, the Quinlan tax review and the Henry tax review, to make sure that people are paying up front, paying as they go and paying when they leave. They are absolutely squeezing them to the point where you are forcing people into the risk of homelessness.

Until you do something about land prices—which are being artificially forced up, as Mr Coe has alluded to, by saying that there is a shortage of land—we are never going to adequately address the issue of housing affordability, which feeds directly into putting people at risk of homelessness. To me, that is just not good enough. It is time this government did something to fix the issue.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Community Services Directorate—Part 1.8

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.42): The Greens welcome the government’s commitment to the diversity of needs of Canberrans through the community services portfolio. I would like to talk about a few things in particular—women, young people, people with disability and seniors.

It is pleasing to note that some initiatives listed in the parliamentary agreement have been funded, not least of which is the investment in front-line accommodation services. The Greens have been calling for the strengthening of specialist homelessness services since before the last election, and I am pleased that the calls have been at least partially heeded. We are not sure at this stage exactly how the added investment of $6.5 million will in fact be spent.

It is important to note the need to increase service capacity through both increased caseworkers and physical availability of appropriate accommodation for women and their children escaping violence. We know that services are at capacity and that in reality this is catch-up funding. There is an ever-increasing demand for these services and related support services, and we should continue to invest in expansion in future years. The real number of beds in the crisis accommodation sector has not grown by any significant level, but we do know, as Ms Lawder has just said, that the number of people in our community doing it tough is increasing.

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