Page 1602 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 June 2022

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public housing tenants—as well as Mr Parton, who attended some of the workshops that were put together to develop the housing strategy—is about taking those important steps to address housing affordability across the board with the tools we have available at the territory level.

The ACT government is committed to strengthening social housing through increasing, growing and renewing the territory’s public housing stock and, in turn, reducing homelessness and contributing to a safer, stronger and more inclusive Canberra. This has not always been an easy task. It will continue to be challenging to deliver across our community, but this is a commitment that has been clearly demonstrated through the government’s ongoing and significant investment in public housing.

Through the ACT government’s housing strategy, the Growing and Renewing Public Housing Program, the government will continue to renew its ageing public housing stock, replacing it with well-designed, comfortable and easy-to-run homes so that our portfolio continues to meet the needs of our tenants now and into the future.

Over the next five years the ACT government will invest more than half a million dollars to deliver 1,400 new, modern, efficient properties, including 400 additional homes for those who need them most. This program includes a direct budget investment of over $150 million. This is, per capita, the biggest investment in public housing in the country. It will also see a quarter of our public housing stock renewed, with a $1.2 billion investment in public housing from 2014 to 2025.

The 2021-22 budget saw $100 million committed to growing, renewing and maintaining our public properties. As Ms Davidson said, the dropping of data can make people a bit sleepy but, for us, this significant investment is about providing people with homes, providing people with somewhere to live that best suits their needs, wherever they want to live across the city, so that they can broaden their horizons and have the same aspirations as the rest of us. This investment builds on the success of our previous public housing renewal program, which was commenced under the Chief Minister, which saw the replacement of 1,288 ageing, no longer fit-for-purpose properties in higher concentrations with more efficient homes in small developments spread across the city.

In 2021-22 the budget also saw a boost to the maintenance budget for public housing, with $80 million committed to general repairs, maintenance, upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, as well as upgrades for homes that needed disability modifications, and security improvements. This investment has seen a significant increase in maintenance works across the portfolio whilst also supporting our local industries.

Mr Parton is right: I have been calling for more action at a federal level to support the ACT government’s work on housing affordability. With the election of the Albanese government and the appointment of Julie Collins as the new minister responsible for housing and homelessness, we can now hope for delivery on some of these actions that I have been calling for over the years.

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