Page 3739 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 September 2018

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Land Tax (Community Housing Exemption) Amendment Bill 2018

Mr Parton, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

We have a rental affordability crisis in the ACT. I think we can all agree on that. This bill is not a silver bullet in that space, but it will ease the crisis for a number of individuals and families, and the time to do it is now. The time for talk in this space is over. It is time for us to act.

Earlier this year I was determined to craft a motion calling on this government to give property owners a break on land tax if they were prepared to rent their property through a community housing provider at an affordable level. It pretty much would make sense to everyone. It followed much consultation with the community housing sector, the Real Estate Institute and a bunch of other stakeholders.

I thought this was a sensible thing to do, as it had the twin virtues of providing a useful stimulus on the supply side while not requiring additional spending on the budget side. Of course, there was some forgone revenue, but certainly the mathematics that we did suggested that that would not amount to a great deal. It would be a modest sacrifice for what was returned to the market.

My office was ready to go with a motion when I heard that Ms Le Couteur had also crafted one that embraced those thoughts on land tax. Ms Le Couteur very kindly took me through her proposal and I was quite buoyant at the prospect of us collectively getting the government to adopt a sensible and simple measure to at least help some Canberrans suffering from rental stress.

I stopped work on my motion at that point and looked forward to supporting the creation by the Greens of the land tax exemption. This would surely be a great outcome for the supply of affordable housing and could be achieved in a reasonably short space of time.

On 1 August Ms Le Couteur presented her motion for the exemption and spoke with conviction, pointing out that Canberra was in the grip of an affordable housing crisis.

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