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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2111

Senator MCAULIFFE - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Housing and Minister for Works. In view of Sir Albert Jennings' apparent interest in reducing the cost of housing will the Minister inquire why A. V. Jennings Industries in Brisbane has increased its house prices by over 40 per cent in the last year? As this company is a price leader in Brisbane, will the Minister ascertain the effect which this massive price increase has had on housing prices in Brisbane? Is it true to say that builders' margins have accounted for over 50 per cent of house price rises because neither wages nor materials have increased by anywhere near 40 per cent in price in the last year?

Senator CAVANAGH -A. V. Jennings Industries claims that the cost of houses which it has built in the Brisbane area over the past 12 months to the same plans and specifications has increased by 14 per cent and not the percentage mentioned. Some 90 per cent of the homes built in Brisbane by A. V. Jennings Industries are under firm contract price before construction and the company keeps somewhat to that price. I recognise that it is one of the successful builders, as its profits, which increased last year, would show. Of course, the claim is that about 50 per cent of house price rises at present are due to the time lag which is necessary today in building. Over the last 12 months the building of cottages has taken double the time that it took previously and this could create price increases in the building of them. I think that the whole question of housing construction is not satisfactory and it may be necessary to bring some factory made processes into the building field.

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