Page 1645 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 July 2020

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Another quote from Khalid Ahmed:

Affordability should not be as big a problem as it is in Canberra because we have absolute control over the land supply. If you have got the policy settings right the rest will take care of itself. If you supply enough, the price will stabilise.

I repeat: “Affordability should not be as big a problem as it is in Canberra.” We see many examples of this.

I refer members to comments by former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope. I recall very well him saying, about this time in 2015, that the lack of action on the affordable housing action plan was his single greatest regret as Chief Minister. I regret to say that nothing has improved since that time, since he made that comment in 2015. There are many things that we could and should be doing but the government has the policy levers in this regard.

Ms Berry said that the ACT housing strategy aims to give Canberrans choice. I am afraid, at this point, that this is literally as well as metaphorically a choice between a rock and a hard place for many Canberrans. The building of an inclusive community, as Ms Berry has said today, is more than just saying that that is what we want to do. You must put those policy levers into action to ensure that Canberra families, of whatever type—singles, older people with children or without children; it does not matter how you want to represent a family, a family is a family—have and deserve to have housing choice in action, not just in words.

I am very pleased to speak in support of Mr Coe’s motion today. Housing affordability can be improved with the right levers, with the right policy settings. What it takes is a will. This government has the will to gouge Canberrans, rather than a will to genuinely make housing affordable for everyday Canberrans. I thank Mr Coe for bringing this important motion to the Assembly today.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (3.18): To conclude the debate, unfortunately it is no surprise to hear the delusions of those opposite with regard to the current situation. They seem to be absolutely clueless about the extreme hardship that so many Canberrans are facing when it comes to housing affordability. The motion today is specifically about the cost of land and the fact that so few properties are available for under $750,000.

That also extends of course to trying to rent a property as well. Have you tried to go and rent a house in Canberra? Not only are you paying top dollar but when you turn up there are a couple of dozen other parties there begging for the property as well. I have heard so many real estate agents tell me that they have had rental applicants in tears, begging for a property. And that is a property that is $600 or $700 a week—$600 or $700 a week to rent a three or four-bedroom home in Canberra. It is crazy, absolutely crazy. The fact is that a house and land package in Canberra is now $750,000 and that is about as cheap as it gets. We are satisfied with this! This is a monumental policy failure.

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