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Tuesday, 13 September 1983
Page: 706

Mr FREE(9.38) —I will take only a couple of minutes to indicate my very strong support for this package of Bills and to congratulate the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Hurford), who is at the table, for the excellent features contained in Labor's new first home owners scheme. It contrasts with those schemes that operated under the previous Government from time to time and in various fashions in a number of very important ways.

Apart from its generosity this scheme has clear objectives. It has been formulated after careful assessment and consultation with the housing and finance industries, again, unlike its predecessors. Again, unlike its predecessors, there is no suggestion that this scheme will be subject to the chopping and changing which became the hallmark of earlier Liberal assistance schemes. Unlike its predecessors it is clearly based on need. It is simple. It is flexible. Its benefits are portable and, most of all, a real effort is being made to communicate its features to people in the industry, to lending authorities and to home seekers. I was very pleased to hear the Minister say that information will be made available not only throughout the capital cities but also in centres located in western Sydney and Melbourne. Under the old schemes many people simply did not apply because they did not know of the existence of the schemes and the benefits available to them.

The Minister will, of course, recall that he was in my electorate on Friday last to open the Penrith Building and Leisure Centre. This information centre is the largest of its type in the southern hemisphere. The fact that it was opened on Friday last is a tribute to the vision of its Managing Director, Mr Pieter Berkhout, and his fellow directors. On that occasion in a first class opening speech the Minister for Housing and Construction explained the first home buyers scheme to a large, enthusiastic and attentive gathering of local people. That gathering included people from local government, people involved in the building industry and people involved in lending to home buyers. I am pleased to report that the response from that gathering was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. People are endorsing the scheme because of its clear objectives, its generosity, its simplicity and its flexibility. I share their view that this program will give home seekers the help they need. It will also give the building industry, and therefore employment, the boost it needs.