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Tuesday, 13 March 1973
Page: 465

Mr McKenzie (Diamond Valley) - I ask a question of the Minister for Housing. Has Mr Quinn, Victorian President of the Federation of Co-operative Housing Societies, claimed that Victoria will build 1,500 fewer houses under the proposed Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement because finance to co-operative building societies will be cut from 30 per cent to 20 per cent of Commonwealth .advances? Can the Minister say whether this claim is true? If it is will he take urgent steps to ensure that such a drastic reduction in low income home building does not occur under (he new agreement?

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is true that Mr Quinn of the Victorian Federation of Co operative Housing Societies has made such a claim. However, his claim can be regarded only as an assumption. As honourable members know, an amount representing 30 per cent of State advances for Housing has been diverted to the home builders account. It is now proposed that an amount equal to 25 per cent of the advances to a State housing authority be allocated also for utilisation by the terminating building societies through the home builders account. However no mention has been made of the total amount of money to be allocated.

I have been advising the State Housing Ministers, in my discussions with them in connection with the forthcoming Commonwealth State housing agreement, that while a smaller percentage is to be allocated it is likely that this will be a smaller percentage of a larger amount of money. It is presumptive to accept this as indicating that a lesser amount of money will be available for these purposes - that is, for the construction of housing through the terminating building societies. I have been indicating also that if there were to be a reduction in the flow of money through these particular channels, efforts would be made to encourage a flow of money from other channels, particularly from the life assurance societies. I have had discussions with my colleague, the Treasurer, for the purpose of contriving means by which that could be accomplished. At this stage it is too early to say what will happen and whether there is to be a taking up of the leeway by other institutions. The proposition that some consideration ought to be given to assisting with the interest rate so that low income people will not be handicapped in the provision of homes will certainly be taken into account.

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