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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 1756


Senator TOWNLEY (TASMANIA) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Housing. Is the Minister able to advise the Senate of the number of houses that are presently required throughout this country? What number of houses is it anticipated will be required in 12 months time? Does the Minister acknowledge that the present high interest rates on housing loans and lack of finance will prevent many people, particularly low income people, from being able to afford to build their houses until the present credit squeeze is removed, and that many people feel it is wrong to use a financial measure to stop people satisfying their urgent physical need of a home?


Senator CAVANAGH - It would be impossible to state the number of houses needed. As has been stated, there are 93,000 applicants for rental homes in Australia at the present time. So at least 93,000 families are seeking homes. The demand for housing within the next 12 months will increase as the housing figures increase each 12 months. But I will see whether the Minister for Housing can supply any information on that matter. Interest rates have no effect upon the number of homes constructed. They could have an effect upon the number of sources from which housing finance is allocated. Housing construction today is at the maximum level possible with existing resources of manpower and materials. The delay in the construction of houses today is caused not so much by increased interest rates as by a shortage of skilled labour and materials. The Department of Aboriginal Affairs has increased the vote in each State for the Aboriginal housing program. It is very doubtful- it seems almost impossible- that the houses for which money has been allocated will be completed. The same situation applies in the Australian Capital Territory. The problem with housing today is not interest rates; it is the shortage of skilled labour and materials.







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