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Barriers to homeownership in Australia
Senate committee
Monday, 14 April 2008
Barriers to homeownership in Australia

CHAIR (Senator Payne) —I am pleased to declare open this meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Housing Affordability in Australia. The Senate established this select committee on 14 February 2008, and it is due to report on 16 June 2008. The terms of reference for the inquiry are as follows:

The barriers to home ownership in Australia, including:

  • a.        the taxes and levies imposed by state and territory governments;
  • b.       the rate of release of new land by state and territory governments;
  • c.        proposed assistance for first home owners by state, territory and the Commonwealth governments and their effectiveness in the absence of increased supply;
  • d.       the role of all levels of government in facilitating affordable home ownership;
  • e.        the effect on the market of government intervention in the housing sector including planning and industrial relations laws;
  • f.         the role of financial institutions in home lending; and
  • g.       the contribution of home ownership to retirement incomes.

To date the committee has held public hearings in Canberra, Sydney, Campbelltown, Karratha and Perth. This hearing has been convened to receive evidence on housing affordability issues as they affect Queensland.

These are public proceedings, although the committee may agree to a request to have evidence heard in camera or may determine that certain evidence should be heard in camera. I remind all witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee. If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken, and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer having regard to the ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may, of course, also be made at any other time.

[9.32 am]