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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 9 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 2991..


Housing-subsidies

(Question No 452)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, upon notice, on 30 June 2005:

(1) Why was the decision taken to not continue the Social Housing Subsidy Program, worth $245 000, beyond 30 June 2005;

(2) What other programs will the Government consider implementing to assist the social housing sector, particularly relating to subsidies.

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

(1) Information provided in Select Committee on Estimates hearing on 20 May 2005.

(2) Under the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement 2003-08 the ACT Government has committed to a number of initiatives in public and community housing to assist the social housing sector. Specific programs related to subsidies in the private rental market are the PRL, the Social Landlord Program and the Rental Bond Loan Program. As the Australian Government did not support the continued funding of the PRL, continuing to lease properties on the private market under the PRL Scheme after 30 June 2005 would be uneconomic. However, the terms of the existing leases will be adhered to and therefore as leases expire Housing ACT will either purchase the property or relocate the tenant to a public housing property.

Housing-refugee access

(Question No 453)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, upon notice, on 30 June 2005:

(1) Further to the reply to question on notice No 60, Estimates Hearings 2005-06, is, where possible, the refugee resettlement services program able to gain access to vacant Housing ACT properties to house refugees in the ACT;

(2) If a refugee accesses public housing, do they have to meet any specified eligibility criteria to receive public housing assistance as part of the program.

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

(1) The provision of short-term accommodation under the Refugee Resettlement Services program is a discrete program separate to the public housing program. The Refugee Resettlement Services program provides eight weeks of on-arrival accommodation to refugees who choose to settle directly in the ACT.

(2) Refugees are able to register for ACT public housing in the same way as other Canberra residents. Refugees on temporary visas who do not meet criteria such as the 'permanent residence' requirement are eligible to apply for assistance if they can demonstrate they are in severe hardship which cannot be otherwise resolved. Eligible tenants also receive a rebate which caps their rent at 25% of their income.


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