Page 1592 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 June 2022

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(i) expanding specialist homelessness services;

(ii) constructing more build to rent affordable rentals;

(iii) providing additional funding for systemic advocacy in the housing sector; and

(iv) expanding the existing land tax exemption program for affordable housing;

(d) as of 7 March 2022, there are still 3028 individuals and families waiting to be placed into social housing in the ACT;

(e) the average wait time for a social housing application assessed as high priority is 1040 days; and

(f) the Chief Minister has already raised the housing debt waiver directly with the Prime Minister and Finance Minister since they assumed office last week;

(3) acknowledges that the ACT Chief Minister and Government have publicly committed that savings from a debt waiver would be reinvested into new social and community housing;

(4) requests that the Chief Minister continue to raise waiving the ACT’s housing debts with the newly elected Federal Labor Government at all appropriate opportunities, to ensure the matter is dealt with as expeditiously as possible; and

(5) as a follow-on action, calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) reconfirm that, in addition to existing financial commitments made by the ACT Government, it will invest into public housing all the principal and interest payments that no longer need to be made; and

(b) report back to the Assembly by the final sitting day of 2023 on the progress of these calls, including the total debt waived, the interest saved, and plans for public housing investments resulting from this motion.

As we have noted, debated, discussed and even agreed in a tripartisan manner in this chamber many times over recent years, the ACT is in a housing affordability crisis. This crisis has affected our entire country, from the country to capital cities. House prices in the ACT have skyrocketed over the last two years. Across all jurisdictions, rents have risen above what ordinary people can afford.

This has affected almost everyone who is currently in insecure housing: renters, people in public and social housing and those looking to buy a home. We know, of course, that it has disproportionately impacted those who are most in need. We are all too well aware of this and it is causing significant distress throughout our community. We are in a crisis and solutions must come from every level of government; they must be bold and they must all be genuinely considered.

My motion today calls on the federal government to forgive the ACT’s historic housing debt, but additionally for the ACT government to invest all the money that it saves from the forgiveness of such debt directly into public housing. Madam Speaker, I am someone who grew up in public housing. I have a deep appreciation for and understanding of the need for secure, government-provided homes.

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