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Thursday, 17 May 1973
Page: 2256

Mr INNES (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Housing. Having regard to the confusion that now exists in Victoria regarding the State Government's attitude to the proposed housing agreement, can the Minister inform the House whether he has any information regarding any proposed rent increases for housing commission homes in the near future - that is if the Victorian State Government has a future after Saturday next?

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Victorian Housing Minister has not indicated enthusiasm about the proposed housing agreement.

Mr Lynch - That is a classic understatement.

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It could be, but it is still a fair expression of the situation. He has made it clear that the Government of Victoria has no intention of increasing rents before the election. To be more precise, he has said - this is borne out in a transcript of the proceedings of the Housing Ministers Conference - that, the Victorian Government has decided that in this financial year there will be no increase in rental charges. He stated that in July 1973 the Victorian Gov-, ern ment will, however, be making a review of all rentals. I am not prepared to overstate and say that it is inevitable that rental increases will follow, but I think it is implied because the Victorian Government, like other State governments, often, delays the review of rents until after elections and too frequently rental reviews are conducted triennially rather than annually. The Commonwealth has advocated that there should be periodical and annual reviews of rents in order that people may be spared the disadvantage of suffering a large increase from time to time.

I should like to inform the honourable member that if the Housing Agreement Bill which is at present before the House receives the approval of the Victorian Government it is likely that substantial increases in rents which would otherwise take place may be avoided. If finance is provided at 4 per cent per annum interest rather than one per cent below the bond rate and provided over 53 years, it obviously provides the means by which rental or repayment costs on houses can be kept to a minimum. It may be of interest for honourable members to know that later today, after question time, I shall be tabling documents relating to the negotiations associated with the proposed CommonwealthState Housing Agreement. There has never been any indication on the part of the Commonwealth that it stands for increases in rents. Conversely, there has been a clear implication in what I have read to the House, which is an account of what the Victorian Housing Minister has said, that the Victorian Government will be contemplating such an increase after the State election. I should take the opportunity of correcting another incorrect impression which has been conveyed throughout Victoria. It is to the effect that this Government stands to evict people who are tenants of housing commission homes when they become more affluent. The documents I table today will demonstrate that there has never been a Commonwealth intention along those lines.

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