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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3665..

(5) How does the water use in government houses compare with that of private houses of comparable size;

(6) How much is spent annually on (a) replacing plants in the gardens of public housing properties and (b) landscaping new public housing properties;

(7) Are there any programs for developing or modifying gardens in public housing properties or encouraging tenants to do so to reduce water use;

(8) Has any analysis been undertaken of the costs and benefits of actual or possible indoor or outdoor water-saving measures in public housing properties; if so, what was the result.

Mr Wood: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Housing and Community Services.

(3) Public housing tenants are able to access the same incentives to reduce water consumption as the general population. For example, tenants are participating in the water tune up program and have access to subsidised water tanks on the same basis as other ACT residents.

(4) Water saving measures are installed as part of general operations when properties undergo a major improvement in wet areas or when showerheads or cisterns are replaced as general repairs. Currently, around 30 per cent of public housing properties have water efficient showerheads and dual flush cisterns as a result of policies on construction, refurbishment and repairs. Over time all properties will progressively receive water efficient showerheads as new ones become necessary and this will enable Housing ACT to take advantage of improvements in the technology as they become available.

In addition to community wide education programs, Housing ACT uses the quarterly Newsletter to Tenants to encourage their participation in appropriate approaches to energy and resource awareness including water restrictions.

(5) Average water usage for residential dwellings in Canberra is not readily available from ACTEWAGL. As a result no formal comparison has been made between average water consumption by public housing tenants and consumption in the wider community. However, comparison of water charges over the recent year indicated that water consumption by public housing tenants during last summer (December 2003 to February 2004) was about 36% below the same period for the summer of 2002-03 (December 2002 to February 2003).

(6) (a) Tenants are generally responsible for maintaining the private gardens of the properties that they reside in, except in the cases of tree limbs over 2.5m where the trees present a health and safety issue. Different arrangements apply to common areas, including gardens, in multi-unit properties which are maintained by Housing ACT. Housing ACT spent over $2.6m in 2003-04 on horticultural maintenance and both hard and soft landscaping of its properties.

(b) The majority of new public housing properties are established dwellings purchased on the open market. In those cases where Housing ACT acquires properties that have been recently constructed, landscaping may be provided by the builder as part of the

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