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Tuesday, 30 November 1971
Page: 3819

Mr UREN (Reid) - I move:

In clause 4 omit 'Nine thousand dollars', insert Fifteen thousand dollars'.

In clause5 omit 'Nine thousand dollars', insert Fifteen thousand dollars'.

The idea of this legislation is to increase the amount of the war service loan from $8,000 to $9,000 and I want to point out to the Committee the inadequacy of this amount, particularly in New South Wales. The interim report of the War Service Homes Division for 1970-71 shows at page 25 that the average cost of land and dwelling in New South Wales purchased with a war service loan was $14,990 and yet this legislation makes available only $9,000. In other words, $5,990 has to be found by way of a second mortage. A person would be paying at least8½ per cent reducible and up to 10 per cent flat rate of interest on that second mortgage so some people are paying up to 20 per cent interest reducible on a second mortgage to close the deposit gap. Of course, this relates only to the average cost of land and dwellings built by the War Service Homes Division in New South Wales. That same report reveals that the cost to the War Service Homes Division of land and dwelling in Victoria is $13,500, in Queensland $13,800, in South Australia $11,700, in Western Australia $12,600 and in Tasmania $13,700. So one can see that the increase is inadequate.

I ask that at least the Leader of the House (Mr Swartz) pay me the courtesy of listening to me. He is an ex-serviceman. He is a member of the Cabinet but he is not even interested in the amendment. He is talking on the front bench. When he came into this place in 1949 he, with many other ex-servicemen, were the crusading young Turks who were going to make sure that the ex-serviceman got a fair deal and was able to acquire a home. But if one reads the second reading speech of the Minister for Housing (Mr Kevin Cairns) one finds that all he says now is 'assist a person to acquire a home'. In other words, ail that the Government does now is to assist the ex-serviceman to get a home and not to acquire a home. In 1950-51, after the Menzies Government came into power, the loan available to ex-servicemen was $5,500 while the average cost of land and dwelling was $4,160. In other words, a person could build a home which was far in excess of the average cost of a home or dwelling. But today in New South Wales the average cost of land and dwelling has risen to $14,990 and all that this Government makes available by way of a loan is $9,000. I am asking those ex-servicemen, those crusading ex-servicemen, those young Turks of 1949 - and I put the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), who is a member of the Cabinet, in that category - to use their power to give to exservicemen this added benefit by increasing the loan from $9,000 to $15,000 to enable them to buy a home. I ask the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairbairn), who is also an ex-serviceman and who was a young Turk in 1949-50, the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) who is an exserviceman, the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) who is also an exserviceman and also all other exservicemen, including those in the Australian Country Party such as the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) who is an ex-serviceman and who was here in 1949, to support this amendment. I ask: Why are these ex-servicemen not assisting us by supporting the amendment to increase the loan from $9,000 to $15,000? The rising cost of dwellings and of land is one of the greatest of the crimes that can be attributed to this Government. In regard to the cost of land I want to quote from a table which was incorporated in Hansard on an earlier occasion and which has been prepared by the Library's Legislature Research Service. It deals with the movements in index numbers of the average cost of land on which houses have been financed under the War Service

Homes Act compared with movements in index numbers of average weekly earnings. This table covers the years 1949-50 to 1970-71. Between 1949 and 1971 land cost in New South Wales for war service homes increased 14 times. In other words, with a base of 100 in 1949-50 the cost increased to 1,409 in 1970-71. During the same period average weekly earnings in Australia increased from 100 to 437 or 4-1/3 times. Therefore land costs have increased 3i times faster than average weekly earnings. This Government has allowed inflation to run rampant, has allowed the price of land to increase and the cost of housing to increase. Reports compiled by Government departments show clearly the increasing costs imposed on the community by this Government.

We are asking honourable members opposite to vote for our amendment to increase the loan from $9,000 to $15,000. This is not simply something that has been pulled out of a hat. This is the policy of our Party. This was accepted at the last Labor Party conference, held at Launceston, and this action was taken after an evaluation of the whole situation in regard to housing costs with a view to finding a realistic level of costs. We know that in New South Wales alone land prices have increased tremendously, even over the last 3 years - and the Government in that State is a conservative government just as this Commonwealth Government is a conservative government. In the Sydney metropolitan area land prices have increased as follows: In Penrith from $2,500 in 1969 to $6,000 in 1971; in Blacktown from $3,300 in 1969 to $6,500 in 1971; in Baulkham Hills from $6,000 to $9,000; in Belrose from $8,000 to $13,500; in Hornsby, the electorate of the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Hughes), from $6,000 to $8,500. There has been an increase in the cost of land in Campbelltown, which is a new area and which is represented in this place by the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bale) from $2,800 in 1969 to $7,500 in 1971. These are examples of the increase in the price of land yet the maximum loan has been increased to only $9,000.

The Opposition asks the Government to give a loan at least comparable in purchasing value to that which was available when it came into office in 1949. We ask the Government to make the loan the same in purchasing value us the loan which was available in 1949-50 when the average cost of a land and dwelling in New South Wales was 54. 160 and the maximum loan available was $5,500. We are asking honourable members opposite to support our amendment to increase the loan from $9,000 to $15,000.

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