Page 108 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022
Thank you, Mr Parton, for bringing this important issue to the Assembly today. Ms Vassarotti and I are always very keen to talk about the housing crisis in this country and here in the ACT. In fact, we regularly lobby our colleagues on the hill to make sure that we can get additional supports from them for those here in the ACT.
I would suggest to Mr Parton and the Canberra Liberals that perhaps they could do the same and lobby their colleagues in the Australian government on a number of things. I have a few ideas here. They could lobby to waive the historic ACT housing debt held by the commonwealth, to enable savings to be directed into more public housing. We could develop a national housing and homelessness strategy. We could actually have one—a national plan. They could lobby to support the Community Housing Industry Association’s social housing and renovation program. They could lobby to have the federal government reform tax settings, which currently benefit property investors over first home buyers and renters. They could recognise that housing affordability is actually a national issue and increase funding to all states and territories through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, and they could lobby the federal government to increase commonwealth rental assistance.
We will not hold our breath for the Canberra Liberals to take action and to lobby their colleagues on the hill. But here in the ACT we will continue to develop, reform and consider new and innovative ways to address the housing crisis, from which we are not immune. We are doing that through our housing strategy. It is not a secret, and the time frames are very clear. They are very clear in the parliamentary agreement and they are very clear in the strategy: we will deliver 400 new homes and we will renew a thousand homes.
I remind everybody that we would have a thousand more public housing properties if the Canberra Liberals had not sold off a thousand properties that are now privately owned dwellings in the ACT. This is the—
Mr Parton: Is that this century or last century?
MS BERRY: It does not matter when it happened; it happened. Those are the facts of the matter. One thousand public housing properties were sold off and are now privately owned in the ACT community.
I was very interested to hear Mr Parton talking about how he was the greatest champion of public housing in the ACT. This has always been quite amusing to me, particularly when I have had, in the last 12 months, 15 representations from the Canberra Liberals actually opposing public housing being built. There have been 15 representations from the Canberra Liberals in the last 12 months opposing public housing.
Do not forget that, in the last renewal program, Madam Speaker, the Canberra Liberals, including Mr Parton, were front and centre in opposing new housing being built in the suburbs—brand-new homes that best suit the needs of our tenants now and into the future. The Canberra Liberals opposed it, and they whipped the community into a frenzy to oppose public housing and to oppose public tenants moving into their