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Thursday, 15 September 1983
Page: 890

Mr FRY —Is the Minister for Territories and Local Government aware that due to the neglect of the previous Government there are serious deficiencies in housing in Canberra, especially in low cost accommodation? Is he also aware that under the previous Government there was a serious rundown in home building activity in the Australian Capital Territory? What will the Minister do, which the previous Minister did not do, to meet the housing needs of the people of Canberra?

Mr UREN —This Government inherited a serious housing problem, both in the public and private sectors, a problem in land servicing and in office accommodation. In trying to deal with that problem we have attacked the situation on all fronts because they are interrelated. Sadly, it most affects those people on lower incomes. This year we increased the budget for public sector housing to provide 500 dwellings. That was a 66 per cent increase. In regard to land servicing we will develop over 3,000 sites which will be an increase of about 92 per cent. In regard to the private sector, I intimated yesterday in a statement that we have instituted a very innovative program which reveals that, using the national program which was introduced in the Parliament this week by the Minister for Housing, from 1 October people who have lived in the Australian Capital Territory for six months will be able to acquire a dwelling of the value of up to $60,000 and get a loan of between $28,000 and $50,000.

We have been able to do this because the Commissioner for Housing has been working in co-operation with the private housing sector, particularly the building societies in this community. It is only through working together, using government moneys in co-operation with the private sector, that we have been able to overcome the situation. We are doing in government what we said in opposition should be done-attacking the sick economy by building up the housing and construction industry, particularly in Canberra. I believe that this housing stimulus will have an enormous effect on the economy of Canberra. This direct government involvement with Canberra's private sector will probably lead the way to recovery for the rest of the nation. Canberra has been able to get this housing stimulus because of the Government's priorities in regard to land servicing, private and public sector housing, and office accommodation.