Page 1599 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 June 2022

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You did it. In October 2019 Minister Berry personally raised the issue with and wrote to the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, and these are the words of Ms Berry:

I raised the issue with Mr Frydenberg in four different ways over four different events in the last month, requesting the same deal for the ACT.

That is what Ms Berry did. The Canberra Liberals also made numerous approaches to the federal government on this issue. Some of those approaches were not really all that public, but I can tell you that they went on because I was involved in quite a number of them. This continued up until the final days of the Morrison government.

I am not often standing in this chamber to defend the Chief Minister, but the Chief Minister is on the record as saying only a fortnight ago:

“[We’ve] raised this at least a dozen times with the previous government so it’s on the agenda, we’ll have those discussions with the Commonwealth once things have settled down a little,” said Mr Barr, adding finance minister and ACT Senator Katy Gallagher was “across the detail of the issue”.

So the ACT government is already doing what Mr Davis is calling for. The ACT government have already stated that the funds saved if the debt is waived would be reinvested in new social and community housing. The ACT government should be able to successfully complete their promises, under the parliamentary and governing agreement, of delivering an additional 400 public housing dwellings—I certainly hope they can; we will be looking at it very closely—by 2024, and an additional 600 affordable housing dwellings by 2025-26. Surely they will be able to do that without the need for the debt to be waived? You cannot make promises that cannot be delivered without something else that has not occurred.

The Canberra Liberals have consistently brought housing affordability and social housing concerns to the Assembly. No-one can accuse us of sitting on our hands in this space because we have been extremely active in this space, and we note that more needs to be done. The wait list is growing, as are the wait times that we have before us, and we have brought that to the chamber and to various hearings on many occasions. I would appreciate it if Mr Davis actually did some work within the government that he is a part of to fix that, rather than bringing a motion like this to the chamber. But, with all that said, we are fully in support of it. Thank you.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (3.19): I just have a few words to say in support of Mr Davis’s motion. I thank him for bringing his creativity and his commitment to a home for all and for giving me the opportunity today to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor as a Greens MLA in Murrumbidgee, Caroline Le Couteur, in advocating for more and better quality public housing for the ACT.

If this debt to the commonwealth is cancelled, it will mean that the ACT government is able to invest millions of dollars more into Housing ACT each year. The ACT Greens want public housing that works for people, and the cancelling of this debt would mean more money to ensure that Housing ACT is able to deliver this. We

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