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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (10 March) . .

Page.. 978..

As we in the chamber are aware, the government is undertaking a program of public housing renewal in the ACT. This is an important program that will see improved outcomes for public housing tenants through the delivery of more sustainable public housing that better meets the needs of public housing tenants now and into the future. The multi-unit public housing properties identified for redevelopment under the program are the oldest of any jurisdiction in Australia. The residences were built for a growing public service over 50 years ago and they no longer meet the often complex needs of today's public housing tenants, including people with a disability, ageing tenants or tenants with children.

Many of the new dwellings will be free-standing homes. However, an important part of this process has been the identification of land for groups of dwellings of between 12 and 30 units or townhouses for public housing residents. And that brings me back to the Franklin Early Childhood School. Two sites identified by the public housing task force are adjacent to the school. The community first met for consultation with the task force on 9 December 2015 and had a follow-up meeting on 15 December at the Franklin Early Childhood School. The meetings were very well attended and many views were aired. The school community made it very clear at these meetings that, whilst they were supportive of the work of the task force, they wanted to keep the land adjacent to the school available for the possible expansion of the school grounds. There were, of course, some others that expressed concern about locating public housing adjacent to the school, but within the school community this sentiment was in the minority.

As a result of the advocacy of the Franklin community, it was recognised by the task force that these particular sites were inappropriate for development until the Education Directorate and the ACT government had definitively ruled in or out an expansion. This consultation process worked precisely as intended. A proposal was made, the community presented reasoned and reasonable arguments against the proposal, and the government responded appropriately to those concerns.

The petition I table this afternoon is part of the well-run, constructive and ultimately successful campaign to communicate valid and reasonable concerns to the government. Collectively, the P&C and the school community should be very proud of the work they did and the manner in which they conducted themselves.

This matter also demonstrates that the ACT government takes consultation very seriously and is always ready to work with the community to address reasonable concerns and find the best outcomes for all Canberrans. I would also like to thank Minister Rattenbury who, earlier this year, upon taking on the portfolio as Minister for Education, was able to meet with members of the Franklin P&C, the Franklin school community and other representatives from P&Cs throughout the Gungahlin region to talk about the issues raised by the Franklin school around capacity in the Gungahlin region. I thank him also for his contribution to that discussion.


Ms Fitzharris presented the following paper:

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