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Wednesday, 17 October 1984
Page: 1900

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(8.41) —I thank Senator Scott and Senator Archer for their contributions to this debate and for their support of the States (Works and Housing) Assistance Bill and the Housing Assistance Bill. Briefly, housing is considered by the Federal Government to be very important and it plays a large part in the Government's policy for the economic recovery which we are fortunate enough to be presiding over at the moment. As Senator Archer said, the increase in housing expenditure and in approvals and constructions in this country has been very heartening for the Government and for the whole community. It has spin-off effects throughout the community in industries associated with housing. It has a job creation effect, and the multiplier effects of increases in housing and construction generally are and always will be very important in the economic development of this country. Part of this development relates to schemes such as the first home owners scheme, part relates to this Government's contribution now, and I am sure in the future, to the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement and part relates also to the fact that funds must always be provided for those who are unable to obtain private finance. Under the CSHA about 30 per cent of funds will be used by the States to provide home ownership for that group.

I have heard Senator Archer in the past express his concern about the overheating, as he sees it, of the market or the industry, now and in the future . The Government certainly does not share his pessimism although we will continue to monitor the situation. I do not believe that the industry shares the pessimism that he expresses. Under the new agreements we hope that there will be a continuing beneficial balance in our policies to encourage home ownership, our policies to encourage the States, local governments and community groups to provide accommodation for those who need assistance to get accommodation, and our provision of housing in traditional as well as innovative ways.

We are happy with the results of our housing policy. I believe the States, and the community generally, are happy with the results of our housing policy and I think that is reflected in the general support for this legislation in both this place and the other place. I thank honourable senators for their support for the legislation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bills read a second time, and passed through their remaining stages without amendment or debate.