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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 3745..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

reduces vandalism caused by long-term vacant properties and ultimately benefits applicants for public housing who may otherwise be waiting for a property for some time.

To give a more complete picture of how we are improving access to housing assistance within our available resources, I would like to take this opportunity to inform the Assembly about the positive impact of the changes to eligibility criteria for public housing announced in June 2006. Under the new system, priority applicants are currently being housed, on average, within 73 days, compared with an average waiting time of nine months under the previous system. In June this year, there were just 1,213 people waiting for public housing, compared with more than 2,400 in June 2006 and 3,000 in June 2005. Housing ACT expects to allocate 900 properties this financial year; that is 900 families and singles who will have a new home. I think that is really something; it is why I am in this game.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasise that these initiatives, which are targeted to the high-need end of housing assistance, form part of the government's overall approach to addressing the crucial issue of housing affordability. As members are well aware, in April 2007 the ACT government announced the affordable housing action plan. Under the action plan we announced a range of important measures around land release, low-cost blocks, and low-cost private rental.

At the higher-need end of the spectrum, the plan includes an expansion of community housing in the territory to increase the supply of affordable rental properties and dwellings in the ACT. Community housing is a small but important element of the social housing mix, meeting important social needs and providing critical support to people experiencing housing stress. The expansion of community housing will see Community Housing Canberra become a major provider of affordable housing in the ACT. This is a not-for-profit company that operates both as a community housing asset manager and a provider of affordable housing.

The ACT government is providing Community Housing Canberra with an injection of equity of $40 million through the final transfer of title of 135 properties under Community Housing Canberra's control. The company will leverage that to increase the amount of available affordable housing. The ACT government will also provide Community Housing Canberra with land at market prices and with a revolving $50 million loan facility at government borrowing rates, $3.2 million capital and a $250,000 annual capital subsidy for three years.

In return, Community Housing Canberra will develop an additional 500 affordable dwellings over the next five years, increasing to more than 1,100 over the next 10 years. Finally—as we will do for public housing tenants—Community Housing Canberra will offer a shared equity program to eligible tenants to enable them to buy their homes. The reforms I have outlined today will greatly assist the Canberrans who are most in need of housing support. I commend the reforms to the Assembly.

Water—Canberra supply

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Mr Speaker has received letters from Mrs Burke, Dr Foskey, Mr Gentleman, Ms MacDonald,


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