Page 105 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022
with a straight face that she is ending homelessness? She is ending it! She is providing homes for everyone—there will be homes for all!
This government continues to state that everything is good in housing and, indeed, that it keeps improving—and it does not. It is not correct. All of the feedback and—more importantly, when it comes to this motion—all of the government reports state otherwise. After the release of the ROGS report last month it was evident again that everything is not okay with social and public housing. The ACT Council of Social Service released media on 25 January that could well have been written by me—it could have come from my office—and it highlighted the significant crisis occurring and the failings of this government in housing policy.
The great Labor Chief Minister Jon Stanhope wrote a particularly cutting article about this massive failure in CityNews in December. He got all these quotes from the government’s own budget announcements over the last six or seven years. Every single one of them was trumpeting this amazing injection of funds and what a great thing they are doing in public housing, saying, “We’re spending all this money,” and “We’re the best in the country.” Every single year for six or seven years they have trumpeted their commitment to the public housing space.
Mr Stanhope says:
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the ACT’s population was 367,985 in June 2011 and that it increased to 432,380 in June 2020. Therefore, while the population increased by more than 63,000 people, on the data available to us, it appears that public housing stock in Canberra has declined, in that same period, by 874 dwellings.
The real decline here is staggering. We have seen the number of public housing dwellings continue to drop to a point that is now below the 2012 figure. The wait list continues to grow. I have some figures that I will refer to later on, but the wait list continues to grow and the steady decline is continuously defended by saying that the growth and renewal strategy is going to fix that. “The growth and renewal strategy is going to look at it. Next year there will be some good figures.” If that was the case, surely the amount of knockdown-rebuilds to multi-unit complexes and sales of Housing ACT properties would prove this and the numbers would have moved in the right direction, but they have not. Once again, the figures contradict what the government is saying.
My office, and many others in this place, are inundated with complaints around maintenance, property condition and properties not fitting the needs of constituents, yet I am always faced with the minister stating that constituents are very happy: “There is not a problem here.” The ROGS report clearly stated otherwise, with a steady decline in dwelling condition, and with properties in good condition dropping from 80.2 per cent in 2018 to 73.4 per cent in 2021. It is in black and white.
In my first few weeks back this year I have written seven letters relating to housing placements and lengthy wait times and the growth and renewal strategy, with a further five on maintenance concerns. In this term I have lost count of the number of letters to