Your article “Capital’s housing prices highest in the country” (April 3, p1) was missing one very important word – land. As we move toward Canberra’s centenary celebrations it is time to reflect on the great wedge that is driving an ever increasing gap between the privileged and unprivileged in our community – the price of land. The high price of land is the enemy of working families, far more potent than even the WorkChoices legislation.
It is high price of land that mercilessly sees the wages of working families poured into the pockets of non-producers. It is the high price of land that is turning working families out of their homes. It is the high price of land that is contributing to family separation and breakdown. It is the high price of land that forces working families to live on the margins and commute long distances to reach work. It is the high price of land that sees our bright young students malnourished, couch surfing or ingeniously constructing shelter on water.
The sad irony is that the ACT was actually founded on a leasehold land rent, destroyed by misguided vested interests, that could have made Canberra a self-supporting city with the most affordable housing in Australia. Yet there is still some hope for a fairer system. The ACT Labor Government stand-out initiative in 2008 to establish the ACT Land Rent Scheme offers home buyers a chance to have a half-sized mortgage through renting instead of buying a residential block of land.
There has never been a better time for governments at all levels to focus upon ways to improve and extend the ACT Land Rent System.
Ronald Johnson, secretary, Association for Good Government ACT branch.