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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 854

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-


Mr McVEIGH -I thank the House. The blame for the present situation can be shot home to the Federal Government's financial directives and lack of ability as a business manager. Updating can be done within the established framework. I believe it would be a suitable manoeuvre to alter the present arrangements by removing the restriction that only 30 per cent of total State funds be available for home ownership, and that 85 per cent of the money made available for home rental conform to a means test basis. At present only 15 per cent of money made available for rental homes need not conform to a means test basis. There is a real sore in the present arrangements concerning rental housing. A couple initially may not be in a position to purchase a home, but they treat the home they rent as their own. They create a garden with loving fingers of tender care, and they lay concrete paths and do other work. When the man tries to purchase that home he is told he cannot do so since he does not meet the conditions relating to purchase. Through inflation and progress in his work, he has put himself outside the means test provisions. One cannot dismiss this situation- it relates to hundreds of people- in a cavalier fashion and tell him to pull up his roots, get out and secure a loan to purchase another home.

That is most unjust and the change advocated would overcome much personal hardship.

One could congratulate the Minister if he were positive and if, instead of bringing in this type of legislation, he copied the successful workers dwelling scheme which has been operated in Queensland since 1909 by successive governments of both political creeds. This scheme is financed by State money. It has nothing to do with the housing agreement. It is a mortgagee scheme and loans thereunder bear interest at the rate of 5V4 per cent. It is available to people who have their own land and want a house erected on it through housing commission funds. In his second reading speech the Minister said, and I agree with him, that it is undesirable to have row upon row of the same type of housing in a specified area. Obviously the workers dwelling scheme overcomes this problem in that it is for people who have their own land in areas where they want to live. They have the choice; they are free. The Minister could give help by means of second mortgages and finance to meet the deposit gap to help in the purchase of land. Under the Queensland scheme loans of up to $18,000 can be obtained. Architectural services on an individual basis are available. If the borrower is under age 40 years, his taxable income does not exceed $3,600 per annum and he is a good medical risk, he is covered for a free State Government Insurance Office policy for $5,000. He would get nothing free from the Labor Government in Canberra. When the dwelling is completed it is inspected by officers of the State department and its insistence on good work has protected purchasers since 1909. This type of concern is what is desired.

Another disconcerting problem is associated with the injustice which can occur under the means test proposals as between States and as between employees in different industries. Within the concept of average weekly wages one industry might get a higher increase in wages than another. Average weekly wages are the principal factor in determining whether a person can obtain home rental- 85 per cent of average weekly earnings, and home ownership, 95 per cent. The means test varies every quarter with rises in average weekly wages. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a table showing the variations about which I have spoken.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Luchetti -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-


Mr McVEIGH - If a house does not turn up at the right time in the right period a person can miss out. The scheme is not flexible enough. The process of form filling, returning of same and frustration does not build one extra home, and that is what government activity in housing is all about. It would be much more beneficial to return to the pre- 1973 agreement days when the States obtained money at an interest rate of 4 per cent and lent it at an interest rate of 5Vi per cent over 53 years, ensuring that the money was spent on low and moderate income earners. The Bill is not specific enough. It is true that there are some good ideas in it, but we want to know how they will be implemented. We oppose the methods of dealing with the problem. There is no need for a body to be born simply for prestige. It is bad enough if prestige is the shadow of power, but the Minister wants it to be the substance of power. We of the Liberal Party and Country Party want more homes built, and we submit that the States can do this if they are given the money. Housing is a right, not dice in the card game of centralised bureaucracy.

In the few moments left to me I will refer to some of the propaganda that was put forward by previous Government speakers in this debate. I suggest to the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh) that if he wants to smarten up the housing activities in Queensland he should -

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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