Page 112 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022

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$2½ million, and I look forward to providing further details regarding this investment in the near future.

Minister Berry and I are now engaging with our community partners to reflect on the system as it is currently operating, and to see what improvements we can make to reach our collective vision for eliminating homelessness. This is a deep engagement which has at its core a commitment to co-design our response in a manner that respects and harnesses the collective wisdom of the organisations and individuals who are dedicating their professional lives to addressing homelessness. Through this process we will build on our current investments, and we will fully deliver on our commitment to invest an additional $18 million into the specialist homelessness sector, and ensure that this investment makes the biggest difference and changes the lives of people who are experiencing homelessness.

I note that Mr Parton’s motion also highlights the role that our community housing sector can play in responding to the issue of housing affordability. I wholeheartedly agree. I thank community housing and acknowledge the significant contribution that they already make, as well as how we can work together in the future.

On the topic of contribution, given our shared unity ticket on the need to address the affordable housing and homelessness crisis, here is where you can help, Mr Parton. I would welcome the opportunity to draft a letter from all three parties in this Assembly to the Prime Minister, the federal Treasurer and the Minister for Housing, asking them to meet our financial commitment and ambition to fix the affordable housing crisis.

A simple first step would be for the federal government to forgive the historic public housing debt with which they have saddled states and territories for several decades. Think of what we could do if there was an immediate $120 million injection of funding. Think of what we could achieve if the federal government would take up its responsibilities and help our government to provide more affordable housing and work together to end homelessness once and for all.

Housing stress and homelessness are a scourge on our city. They are issues that are deeply distressing and need action, The scale of this action means that the ACT government cannot solve this on its own. We do need the federal government to act. I believe that this is an issue on which we can have a tripartisan approach. I thank Mr Parton for bringing this motion to the Assembly, and I thank Minister Berry for her amendment. I look forward to us all working together on this issue in the future.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (4.49): I thank Mr Parton for bringing the motion to the Assembly today. I wish to speak in support of the comments made by my colleagues Minister Berry and Minister Vassarotti.

I grew up in ACT public housing. In fact, for the majority of my life, the ACT government has been my landlord. This issue of housing and the ACT government’s responsibility to be an ethical landlord is deeply personal to me, knowing what it is like to be a tenant of the territory. I understand what it is like to experience housing stress and homelessness. I have lived through the day-to-day anxieties that insecure

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