Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 2 March 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 2 March 1994

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Parliamentary Record 25


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 2 March 1994 Mr Ortmann: Yes, one can. Mr PARISH: Perhaps the member for Brennan would like to live in a house that cost $40 000 ... Mr Ortmann: I have. Mr Parish: ... but most people would not choose to do so. That is one reason ... Mr Ortmann: What is the turn-off price of a block? Members interjecting. Mr SPEAKER: Order! I ask honourable members on the government benches to remain reasonably quiet. They will allow the member for Millner to complete his remarks without too many screaming interjections. Mr Poole: Sorry, we thought that it was question time. Mr Ortmann: Yes. Mr SPEAKER: Order! Mr PARISH: That was the reason why the government had no choice but to increase the loan limit to $120 000 to ensure that first-home buyers would be able to build something resembling a house that was capable of being lived in. However, one has to ask who this scheme is designed to benefit. Is it designed to benefit the first-home buyers or is it designed to benefit a tiny minority of developers who own the remaining land at Palmerston? The answer is very clear. It is designed to benefit that tiny group of developers. The great majority of private land in Palmerston is owned by only 3 developers and they choose to trickle that land on to the market at a very slow rate to enable them to maintain land prices at a level that first-home buyers cannot afford without the assistance of huge government subsidies. In reply to the member for Brennan's interjection a minute ago, let us test what the turn-off price of that land was. I understand from Housing Commission sources that the turn-off price of most of the land that is presently being held in private hands was around the $18 000 mark. At present, 200 fully-serviced and subdivided blocks of land are owned by the Northern Territory government in Palmerston. Half of that land is owned by the Housing Commission and half is owned by the Department of Lands, Housing and Local Government. Much of the latter land was bought in sweetheart deals from the developers to provide them with the cash flow with which to complete the developments, and it was bought for around $18 000 a block. That is my understanding. Equivalent land is now being sold for $40 000 and more. The other question that one has to ask is why the Northern Territory government is sitting on 200 blocks of fully-serviced land in Palmerston that could be turned-off tomorrow, thus bringing the price of that land back to something that is vaguely affordable by first-home buyers. That would be the practical, affordable move to make if the government really wanted to help first-home buyers. It would turn off some of that land tomorrow. It would not engineer an artificial land shortage to put money in the pockets of a tiny group of developers. As I understand it, the Housing Commission intends to auction just 45 blocks of its land. Last year, I understand that 11 329

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