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Tuesday, 28 August 1973
Page: 489

Mr INNES (Melbourne) - I think it is appropriate that I should congratulate at this time the Minister for Housing (Mr Les Johnson) on the great job he is doing in the housing area. He has laid the basis, at least, of a challenge to the State of Victoria to do something about the position of housing in Melbourne. Also I would like to congratulate the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) who has thrown down the challenge to the Opposition, which supports the fixing and freezing of prices. The builders in New South Wales have supported the proposition of the Minister and he is to be congratulated on his initiatives.

The housing position in Victoria, in particular in the Melbourne area is acute. It has been pointed out that one firm has developed two-thirds of the land in the metropolitan area of Melbourne which has been reclaimed with public money. M. A. Jones in his book Housing and Poverty' maintains that there is at least a threefold subsidy involved. Firstly there is the subsidy caused by the use of compulsory acquisition powers and the dubious methods the Victorian Housing Commission uses for paying the 'market' price for compensation purposes. Secondly there is the subsidy that is the difference between the price private developers are prepared to pay for the land and the cost of acquisition. Thirdly, the finance for the units, built on cleared sites by private developers is supplied' by the Home Finance Trust, a Government organisation, at low rates of interest. Obviously there is an urgent need for the Prices Justification Tribunal to concern itself not solely with operators in large industrial companies with an annual turnover of $20m or more but also with large companies in the housing - industry such as A. V. Jennings industries (Aust) Ltd. One of the major com ponents in the Consumer Price Index which has been increasing rapidly in the past 12 months is housing costs. To reduce speculation * and profiteering by land developers and construction companies the Prices Justification Tribunal should inquire into existing retail prices, profit margins and actual development costs. It is possible that if this exercise had been carried out in the mid-1960s the retail prices set by the Prices Justification Tribunal for own-your-own flats in the inner suburban area would have been within the price range of lower income earners. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a table showing subsidies to private developers.

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? being no objection leave is granted. (The document read as follows):

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