No simple solutions: Government rejects call for a review into ‘housing crisis’

Lottie Twyford 13 November 2021 61
Housing development.

Liberals MLA Mark Parton called on the Government to investigate the impact their own policies are having on the “housing crisis”. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT Government has refused to explicitly acknowledge Canberra is facing a housing crisis and has rejected Opposition calls to investigate the impact its own policies are having on the market.

Canberra Liberals MLA Mark Parton this week moved a motion in the Assembly calling for an independent review into what impact government policies have had on rising house prices and rent levels, and asking the Government to declare a housing crisis.


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Instead, the Government passed a heavily amended motion acknowledging a housing affordability crisis is unfolding across every OECD country, including Australia, and “the ACT is not immune from this”.

Minister for Housing Yvette Berry substantially watered down Mr Parton’s motion so that rather than an independent review being conducted, the ACT Government will continue to implement its housing strategy.

The amendment states the government will also review and assess any available levers and continue to lobby the Commonwealth Government to take measures to improve housing affordability.

Mark Parton

Mr Parton is calling for the Government to label the housing “crisis” as just that. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Mr Parton, for his part, blames ACT Government policy for the current state of the property market and referenced a recent Suburban Land Agency ballot for Taylor in which almost 7500 people applied for a chance to secure one of just 115 blocks of land as an example of the lack of supply.

He says issues like high land taxes and residential rates and a lack of land supply, coupled with disincentives for landlords, were pricing aspirational homeowners out of the market.

“These policies have led to a perfect storm when it comes to housing affordability,” he said.

“This is denying a whole generation of Canberrans (the opportunity of) … ever owning their own home.”

Mr Parton also pointed out the rapidly shrinking number of houses for sale in the ACT for less than $1 million.

He says the ACT Government needs to take more responsibility for land supply, over which it has control, and the Federal Government cannot be the only tier of government held to account.

Ms Berry said the Government was simply getting on with implementing the ACT Housing Strategy and acknowledged the “challenge that every government faces when addressing housing affordability”.


READ ALSO: Barr points finger at low rates as house prices gain almost 30 per cent in a year


The median house price in Canberra has now skyrocketed to almost $1 million, and a CoreLogic report released earlier this month showed house prices in Canberra increased 30 per cent in just one year. Canberra was once again the most expensive city in the country in which to rent.

This week’s Vital Signs report also revealed housing affordability was one of the major factors keeping Canberrans in poverty.

Ms Berry said it was far too simplistic to suggest land supply was solely to blame, instead pointing the finger – as Chief Minister Andrew Barr had done earlier this month – at record low interest rates and tax incentives by the Federal Government for property investment.

“Any suggestion there is a simple solution to this is opportunistic, lazy and wrong,” she said.

She also noted additional land could not easily be secured as it would likely mean the destruction of green spaces and nature reserves.

Ms Berry released the latest report card for the ACT Housing Strategy, telling the Assembly consistent progress across all goals had been recorded in its third year of implementation.


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61 Responses to No simple solutions: Government rejects call for a review into ‘housing crisis’
James Taylor James Taylor 7:19 am 18 Nov 21

the average price for a house in the US is 200K (USD). Why is it not the same in Australia? ppl would have so much more money to spend back into the economy instead of having their wealth tied up in bank loans

Jackie White Jackie White 4:29 pm 15 Nov 21

How does this Parton bloke explain the FACT that housing is also unaffordable in parts of the country run by (il)Liberal governments? Do these people think the population is so parochial they fail to see what is happening almost nationwide? Or internationally, for example housing prices rose 10% just in October in New Zealand - are they going to blame THAT on Barr?

    Assid Uous Assid Uous 1:24 am 16 Nov 21

    It's bad elsewhere so it's acceptable to be bad here is it? Is Parton unfit to offer criticisms of the government because he is a Liberal Jackie? The job of government is not to sit there and blame others, but to act. The ACT government controls the listed prices of new blocks and the rate of new supply released on to the market. They can decide who gets blocks, they decide the zoning of existing land, they decide the rate of land taxation and rates. They decide the level of investment into ACT social housing. Barr points the finger of blame but does not use the levers he has to redress the imbalances.

Futureproof Futureproof 4:13 pm 15 Nov 21

An arrogant government that knows the rusted on will keep voting for them, aided by an inept opposition that couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag

Ben Davis Ben Davis 1:08 pm 15 Nov 21

the greens and labor voted in last week to reduce their sitting days to just 35 days a year because they didn't want to be held to account. This alone tells you that they aren't interested in solving issues that affect thousands of Canberra's.

Don Michael Don Michael 11:00 am 15 Nov 21

Govt should reserve a portion of their land sale for first time home buyers with whatever conditions seems fit to ensure a buyer is a first home buyer and gonna live there. 7000 applications for 100 blocks, I'm sure many of the lucky 100 will be now selling house and land packages... 🤣🥺😭😭😭

    Assid Uous Assid Uous 1:08 am 16 Nov 21

    Don Michael they should reserve all of it for first home buyers.

Tom Worthington Tom Worthington 10:51 am 15 Nov 21

More low cost housing options, including forms of sharing would be useful. There is no way everyone can afford a detached house.

Andrew Ford Andrew Ford 10:07 am 15 Nov 21

You could go out onto the street and ask anyone what they think about Canberra's housing and rent prices and they'd say they're awful. The fact the ACT government isn't addressing this leads me to believe that they've got something to hide or it's in their best interests not to talk about this. I thought Geocon were the only con artists we had to worry about, but obviously not. Good job in making it obvious that you don't care, Mr. Barr.

Marie Wester Marie Wester 9:09 am 15 Nov 21

My family has been waiting 5 years and 2 months on housing ACT with no sign of this wait ever ending...

The divide is Canberra is becoming huge your either really rich or really poor....

Rebecca Perrau Rebecca Perrau 7:52 am 15 Nov 21

Government rejects everything I know people who have been waiting onthe list for a long time because even though they have applied for private their wage won't cover a private rental.

Their are empty housing places all through the southside but apparently they are unavailable.

They keep houses empty for when those who end up in jail get out.

And yet so they can move people from where the tram will eventually run through they can fork out $600k to buy a house to move them..... priorities right

James Forge James Forge 9:13 pm 14 Nov 21

The simplistic answer to affordable housing is more government housing. Enough to seriosly challenge the private rental market and undercut the rental prices.

Good luck getting Liberals to support that idea.

    Rick Reeks Rick Reeks 4:06 pm 15 Nov 21

    James Forge obviously Labor won't but I'd bet you'd still vote for them

    James Forge James Forge 4:21 pm 15 Nov 21

    Rick Reeks Lesser of two evils so yes

Jason Preston Jason Preston 7:52 pm 14 Nov 21

Well we know that it doesn’t suit the narrative and spin truths of the central committee

Estelle Estelle 7:03 pm 14 Nov 21

Tom Adam is becoming a regular commentator complaining against ACT Labor policy on this site. His chief argument is that the ACT government isn’t throwing enough taxpayer money to business. This is despite ACT businesses getting over $475m in funding and tax breaks during the pandemic. And a Labor government! As a businessman and President of the Phillip Business Community he has shown himself to be unprofessional and amateurish with his constant whining!

    chewy14 chewy14 9:26 am 15 Nov 21

    Estelle,
    I think his main complaint is that the government has treated business interests as an extremely low priority throughout the pandemic and its hard to argue he isn’t correct.

    Whether you think that his behaviour is unprofessional or not is not really relevant though.

    We all have our opinions, some even think Jonathan Davis is performing well in government despite being almost invisible in the electorate.

Alex Burleigh Alex Burleigh 6:59 pm 14 Nov 21

so arrogant

William Newby William Newby 6:37 pm 14 Nov 21

Property prices the world over have gone crazy, a costly independent review into this tiny piece of the world will solve nothing. Release more land he says, yes let’s just scrap the urban forest, build cheap houses everywhere and shift this problem 10 years down the road.

Salman Khalid Salman Khalid 6:03 pm 14 Nov 21

No vote for labour in the next election.

Heidi Greenthumb Heidi Greenthumb 5:13 pm 14 Nov 21

Several Canberrans that I know, have been on waiting lists for 3-5 years. They have worked in Canberra all their adult lives, paid all the taxes and were always valuable members of our community. Now that they are in desperate need of a roof over their heads, due to misfortune, ACT Housing and all related public servants and authorites, are useless and unhelpful.

Gerard Dwyer Gerard Dwyer 5:06 pm 14 Nov 21

I just came to see the economists explain what is happening.

Anthony Briscoe Anthony Briscoe 4:34 pm 14 Nov 21

Barr Barr what a failure

Julie Williams Julie Williams 4:31 pm 14 Nov 21

Typical. They have roofs over their heads so don't give a toss about anybody who hasn't.

Peter Zivkovic Peter Zivkovic 3:30 pm 14 Nov 21

People need to spend less time drinking coffee and and buying the latest IPHONE. No sympathy for these millenials...

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