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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 13 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 4240..


Public housing waiting lists

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (4.38): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Stanhope Government to alleviate the pressure on public housing waiting lists by:

(1) assisting and encouraging public housing tenants, wherever possible, to move into the private rental market or home ownership; and

(2) improving the management of its housing asset base, particularly in regard to the redevelopment or rejuvenation of Government owned multi-unit complex sites.

Today I have the pleasure of bringing on further debate regarding public housing waiting lists, a subject that really needs to have continual debate in our community. It is imperative that we have a debate that incorporates the importance of maintaining open space wherever possible. At the same time, we should be embedding some core principles of urban life into both the planning of new suburbs and the infilling of established urban areas that will provide a mix of housing options to accommodate the shift in perceived housing needs in Canberra.

It is inspiring to note that Griffin had plans to "show a pronounced level of connectedness and accessibility between the residential, commercial, cultural and official functions"of Canberra. Naturally, there was a perception that Canberra would be a far more compact city than it is today. Some of the principles of the ideals of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin are still achievable. I highlight the fact that there are some unique opportunities to revitalise certain sections of the city, particularly within the inner city, that will allow for truly equitable housing options to emerge. I believe that there needs to be more debate on public housing waiting lists and how policy and action might impact upon them.

Firstly, if we look at the eligibility criteria for access to public housing, applicants must, along with other criteria, currently meet a specified financial criterion connecting the household income threshold to be eligible for social housing with the national average weekly earnings, AWE. Given that the commonwealth-state housing agreement stipulates early on that all forms of public or social housing should be provided to applicants who are specified, and I highlight this point, as most in need, eligibility should reflect the fact that the provision of public housing should be made on the basis that at some point, if the financial circumstances and stability within a household's income reaches, for example, 1.6 times the AWE, steps should be put in place to assist that household to enter into the private rental market or, where possible, to enter into home ownership, which the government currently does. I am pleased to see that it is also advocated by the Chief Minister.

The agreement also maintains a solid commitment to "provide appropriate, affordable and secure housing assistance for those who most need it, for the duration of their need". The ACT is also obligated under such an agreement to "develop and deliver affordable, appropriate, flexible and diverse housing assistance responses that provide people with a


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