Page 113 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022
housing places upon people and families in our city. I am grateful that our community and our government are committed to the principles of social justice and that the efficient and affordable provision of public housing is an ongoing top priority for our government.
Our laser-like focus on housing, as Minister Vassarotti has described it, is one of the many reasons why I chose to first join, represent and subsequently become elected as an ACT Greens representative. We went to the last territory election with an incredibly ambitious plan for a home for all. It is bold. Mr Parton holds us to account to that commitment regularly, and I thank him for that. It was ambitious and it was supported by many in the electorate. I am proud of what that says about our party, our values and the things we choose to prioritise in this place and in our negotiations with ACT Labor.
We sought to build on, and were able to secure commitments in our parliamentary and governing agreement to, the policy prioritisation of public housing. Our plan includes building and buying 400 public housing dwellings over this term—a commitment which saw a doubling of the existing housing targets. The centrality of housing to the parliamentary and governing agreement reflects the commitments of our two governing parties to provide housing for all.
Addressing issues of housing insecurity is essential to meeting the basic needs of Canberrans and addressing other social inequalities. Increasing Canberra’s public housing stock and improving the services provided to our tenants is core to the ACT Greens’ vision for building a just and equitable city.
As Minister Vassarotti pointed out, since February last year the government has made financial commitments of more than $12 million, in addition to the more than $25 million provided annually to support people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. These issues are even more pertinent presently, considering the social and economic costs of the pandemic, which we know have stoked existing inequalities.
As we have begun to recover from the economic crisis of COVID-19, economists and housing experts from around the country and across the political spectrum have been clear that investing in social housing is great for economic stimulus, job creation and, most importantly, providing homes. This includes increased housing stress and materials and labour shortages which are playing out across the housing market and impacting upon our capacity to build houses as quickly as we need to.
For all that the ACT Greens and ACT Labor in government are criticised, at least we are honest about the full breadth of policy challenges that face us in this space; clear on the areas for which we are responsible; articulating a clear plan for what we will do about our share of the burden; and prepared to effectively criticise and call out those who are not pulling their weight. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Canberra Liberals, who are simply unprepared—ideologically, pathologically and personally—to hold their own political party to account for their policy failures.
We know that economists and housing experts across the political spectrum are united in saying that the current framework of negative gearing and capital gains tax