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 The CLP government in the Northern Territory has an extraordinary record for both land release and for assistance to first-home owners. Before self-government, it was almost impossible to acquire private land on which to build one's own home. Some land was available, but its availability was well restricted by the Commonwealth. As a result, the Territory had a home ownership level of around 22#. Most of the population of Darwin, whether they could afford to or not, were living in public housing. However, since self-government, many Darwin and other Northern Territory families have been able to afford to buy their homes. Many young couples and many single people have been able to afford their initial or primary home. As I have said previously, that has led to what is the real strength of the real estate market in the Territory today because it has allowed many people to build up an equity in their property which they have been able to sell or mortgage and thereby upgrade to better accommodation. The member for Millner spoke also about a lack of available undeveloped freehold blocks in Darwin as opposed to their availability in Palmerston. The bloke has to be an idiot to demand that more land should become mysteriously available in Darwin. He should look at his own home town. He should go back to Sydney and demand, as a first-home owner in Sydney, that he be allowed to live in Paddington, in Balmain or, given current trends, in Redfern or Surrey Hills. The cost of land in inner city areas keeps increasing. It is the luck of the draw. Those fortunate enough to have purchased a block of land in Fannie Bay, Stuart Park or Parap or, dare I say it, Malak in the last 10 to 15 years will find that, because of the proximity to town, the value of that land has increased. Not only that but the availability of land in those areas has diminished. The sad and simple fact of urban development is that, if people want to buy cheap, affordable land, they have to pay the price. Part of that price is that they must live farther from the town or city centre, and probably at some distance from their place of employment. Land at that price will not be found close to the city. If they want cheap land, they cannot live close to the city or close to their employment. Of course, those who can afford it are able to take the opportunity. It is possible to buy a house in Longreach very cheaply. However, the opportunities for education, employment, recreation and the arts are not very great in Longreach. Houses are even cheaper in Winton. The availability of land in Kynuna is zero, but there is no demand either. What the Territory government has done is to recognise once again the forces in the marketplace as they pertain at present. Government assisted home ownership schemes must recognise market demands as they exist. Some years ago, a high interest regime pertained and there was not much growth in the real estate market. However, home owners or prospective first-home owners had trouble in meeting repayments of 17.5#- The position now is that the interest rates have fallen dramatically and, in turn, that has led to a capital gain in the market. The Treasurer of this country or the economist who is able to devise a simple formula that combines a diminishing real estate market with low interest rates will be a genius. Unfortunately, it does not happen. We will have either good capital growth or high inflation. Capital growth is determined entirely by demand. In the housing market, demand diminishes in times of high interest rates. The demand increases in times of low interest rates. For some time, I have been encouraging this government to look closely and constantly at its various housing schemes. I must congratulate the minister on the new HomeNorth rental dwelling sales scheme. This has recognised a niche in the market - people who are living in Housing 11 333

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