Labor continuing to deliver on our commitment for more affordable housing for Canberrans

Released 15/06/2012

The ACT Labor Government is making homes more affordable for Canberrans who want to rent and buy.

Today I issued Phase III of the ACT Labor Government's Affordable Housing Action Plan. The Plan outlines 14 actions to make housing more affordable, focusing on the key areas of increasing supply of rental accommodation, better utilising existing sites, relieving blockages to affordable purchase and releasing sites for short-term accommodation.

The ACT Labor Government understands the need for Canberrans to have secure housing, whether it is through renting a home, or buying one. The 2012-13 ACT Budget contains tax reforms and targeted assistance measures to make housing more affordable for Canberrans.

This Plan furthers the Government's work in this area and demonstrates the Government's commitment to providing affordable housing to Canberrans - particularly those on lower incomes.

The actions, in summary, are:

Increasing supply of rental accommodation

  • Reduce land tax on properties with average unimproved land values between $75,000 and $390,000.
  • Encourage institutional investment in affordable rental properties.
  • Increase the supply of affordable rental properties through transfer of land or surplus properties to the community housing sector.
  • Investigate a requirement for the delivery of public and community housing stock in large infill and greenfield residential developments.

Better utilising existing sites

  • Provide grants to small clubs to assess the viability of their sites for residential development.
  • Assess and consider options for facilitating residential development on underutilised community facility land.
  • Offer a lease variation charge remission to facilitate redevelopment or adaptive reuse of commercial accommodation that delivers affordable housing.

Relieving blockages to affordable purchase

  • Introduce variable thresholds for affordable housing based on dwelling size.
  • Commence abolition of stamp duty.
  • Increase property and income thresholds for the Home Buyer Concession Scheme.
  • Explore options for extending the OwnPlace scheme into englobo and joint venture developments.
  • Investigate higher targets for affordable housing requirements in englobo releases.
  • Develop a Sustainable Land and Affordable Housing Guide.

Short term accommodation

  • Release land for short term accommodation.

The Phase III Plan follows on from Phases I and II. Phase I was issued in 2007, and Phase II in 2009. On 12 April 2012, I issued the second progress report on the Plan, which shows that 55 of the 84 initiatives have been completed, with a further 26 either ongoing or under way. After investigation, the remaining three initiatives were withdrawn due to market circumstances.

I am proud of the extensive work undertaken by the ACT Labor Government to address housing affordability. Some of the Plan's achievements since it was first released in 2007 are:

  • the Land Rent Scheme,
  • a record breaking land release program,
  • partnering with universities and the community sector to deliver over 2,600 new affordable rentals through the National Rental Affordability Scheme,
  • working with CHC Affordable Housing to provide 500 affordable rentals and 1,000 affordable home sales by 2018, and
  • introducing minimum requirements for affordable housing in new greenfield developments.

With almost all of the 84 recommendations from Phases I and II either completed or under way and a record 17,000 dwellings sites released over the last four years indicators are beginning to point towards supply catching up to market demand. But affordable housing continues to be a significant issue in our community and there is more work to do.

Work on a number of the new initiatives in Phase III of the Affordable Housing Action Plan has already begun.

To review the latest phase of the Affordable Housing Action Plan, visit:

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases

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