This is gripping. I rise to today to speak on the Statute Law Amendment Bill 2022. From the outset I would like to indicate that it could be a struggle to fill the allotted time, despite the engaging nature of this bill.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Paul Edbrooke): Take a nice deep breath, member. We are all here for it.
Annabelle CLEELAND: Yes, and my fitness levels are there too. Given this bill is of a technical nature, we will not be opposing this bill, as it seeks to ensure legislation works in the manner in which it was intended. Our lead speaker on this bill, the Shadow Treasurer and member for Sandringham, did have a difficult task in attempting to speak on this piece of proposed legislation for 30 minutes – which is incredible. It is an achievement which is remarkable, and I am sure I can be inspired by that.
The Shadow Treasurer did outline the process of this bill coming to our house here in our last sitting week before the recess and outlined some issues with its introduction and the consultation process. I should have a gym membership soon. He also indicated in his second-reading speech that the bill was heading to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee to make sure there were no funny buggers or funny business in this piece of legislation. With the bill originally being introduced in the Council before Christmas before its referral to SARC for reporting, it seems as if this is not the case, as indicated by the report, which has thankfully been tabled in this house.
The general purposes of this bill are of a minor nature, including the revision of the – oh my gosh, I should have read through.
Will Fowles: On a point of order, Acting Speaker, I would like to just give the member for Euroa an opportunity to draw breath and perhaps talk about the importance of points of order more generally. I think it is important always in this place that we conform here to the norms of the house and arrive fit and ready to debate important matters like this Statute Law Amendment Bill 2022.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Paul Edbrooke): Thank you, member for Ringwood. There is no point of order, and the member for Euroa can judge the syncopation of her own speech.
Annabelle CLEELAND: Teamwork makes the dream work. Now, this bill is incredibly technical, and there are some small amendments that ensure that other legislation works as was originally intended, including through a substantive amendment to the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004. The chief parliamentary counsel certified that the original amendment made to the sex offenders act was ineffective, with the Firearms and Other Acts Amendment Act 2021 frustrating the operation of the original amendment. A person sentenced for a class 2 offence will be automatically registered as a registrable offender and must comply with the reporting requirements under the sex offender register act. Bear with me. This bill includes the offence relating to carriage services as a schedule 2 offence, which is based on the Commonwealth legislation.
The bill does make a minor amendment to the Housing Act 1983. One of the major issues facing our region and the state more broadly is a lack of housing supply and extreme waitlists for both public and social housing. This is where I hit my strides. This is something the Leader of the Nationals expanded on with his contribution to the bill in our last sitting week. He outlined that while the Big Housing Build has been well marketed, $2.8 billion has only got us 74 new dwellings in our state. New figures released by the Victorian Housing Register confirm 67,120 Victorians were on the public housing waitlist as of December 2022, an increase of 3376 people over the previous 12 months.
Right across the region in the Euroa electorate we have waitlists for housing completely out of control. There are hundreds of people urgently waiting for housing in towns right across our region, including Seymour, Benalla and the Broadford district. I am regularly contacted by people who are in desperate need of housing, and they are continually being told there is simply no supply to house them. Recently I had the member for Kew – welcome – Jess Wilson visit my electorate to meet with key stakeholders across the housing industry, including real estate agents, builders, developers and contractors, to discuss the hurdles facing increasing the housing supply. We need to revamp the planning system and ensure obstructive councils speed up approval processes and allow people to buy homes close to where they have grown up. This bill is not one that addresses the housing crisis facing regional communities, particularly in the wake of widespread flooding in October of last year, but I hope this is something the government is conducting serious work on and engaging with all relevant stakeholders on to make sure solutions are not just focused on pressing issues in our suburbs but are developed with our regions in mind.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the median house price across regional Victoria has increased by over 45 per cent. The median value of a Kilmore home has increased from $470,000 to $600,000 – a rise of 28 per cent – while the median price of homes in Broadford has increased by $145,000 over the same period. Prospective regional home owners are being hit with a double whammy of increased prices and exponentially rising interest rates. I want locals to be able to grow up, raise their family and own a home in their own community without having to save for decades. While it is always a great honour to stand in this house and debate legislation, I remain hopeful that as the term of this government continues we are able to debate more substantive matters rather than the recycled bills we are dealing with at the moment.