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Tuesday, 3 December 1985
Page: 2779


Senator DEVLIN —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Housing and Construction to the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement and the first home owners scheme as they affect South Australia. Can the Minister inform the Senate of the amounts of money that South Australians will receive under the agreement and scheme and how the distribution of funds compares with other States? Can the Minister advise the Senate of the effect of the South Australian Opposition's election policy statement which provides for the sale of public housing to tenants at a subsidised price?


Senator RYAN —I am advised that in 1985-86 South Australia will receive $73.096m from the Federal Government out of the total of $654.4m, compared with only $34.881m in 1981-82. The total Federal and State funding available for public housing in South Australia on a per capita basis has increased from $116 in 1981-82 to $224 in 1985-86. Total dollar expenditure on public housing in South Australia was $246.2m, second only to New South Wales with $334.6m, yet South Australia has the second lowest population of all States. In South Australia the first home owners scheme has attracted 18,549 applications since its inception. Of these applications 16,058 have been approved at a total cost of $75m over five years. The average benefit per approved applicant has been $4,671.

I am further advised that the South Australian Opposition's election policy statement provides for the sale of public housing to tenants at subsidised prices. I point out to honourable senators that this would be in breach of the 1984 Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement, which requires that any sale of public rental housing be at either market value or replacement cost. This provision was introduced by the Fraser Government when the 1978 CSHA was negotiated. Such a policy would lead to a dramatic rundown in the stock of public housing in South Australia at a time of high demand because insufficient funds would be available for replacement stock. But, of course, I am sure that all honourable senators will agree that the South Australian Opposition's policy on public housing is irrelevant because it certainly will not be in a position to implement it.