Page 2840 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 October 2022

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MS CASTLEY: Minister, how many people are on the waiting list for the joint replacement program, and how much longer will they be forced to wait due to your cuts?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take on notice the question of how many people are currently on the elective joint replacement waiting list, but, as I have just indicated to Ms Castley, what we did was to bring forward into 2021-22 some surgeries that were planned to be delivered this year. Therefore, those people actually got their elective joint replacement surgery more quickly than they would have otherwise if those surgeries had been done in this year.

MR COCKS: I have a supplementary question. Minister, how much longer will people on other elective surgery waiting lists be forced to wait for their procedures due to the DHR rollout?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Cocks for the supplementary. As I have also indicated in my response to Ms Castley earlier, one of the things we have been doing is shifting elective surgeries from the public system and working with our private partners to ensure that we can deliver the same number of elective surgeries in this financial year as we previously planned to do.

Public housing—Common Ground Dickson

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. Minister, can you please provide an update on the opening of Common Ground.

MS BERRY: I thank Ms Orr for her question. ACT Labor made an election commitment to build a second Common Ground in Dickson and we did. The Chief Minister and I, joined by Ms Vassarotti were able to be there last week to attend the official opening of Canberra’s second Common Ground in Dickson. This is a 20-unit building for individuals and families who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Common Ground has been incredibly successful. It is a model that was adopted from New York and is now in place across a number of cities in Australia. It provides a mix of social and affordable long-term secure housing with onsite support and community facilities. This Common Ground is a little bit different to the first Common Ground in Gungahlin, because it includes a mix of units with one-, two- and three-bedroom dwellings, as well as communal areas, community spaces, onsite support services and—once it is completed and all the tenants have moved in—a social enterprise business will be there as well.

Common Ground Dickson, as I said, is complete now and tenants are happily settling into their new homes. Common Ground Dickson was built strongly on the success of the first Common Ground in Gungahlin to provide safe, secure housing and supports for families most in need. In short, Common Ground Dickson will change people’s lives. It has been quite a journey for this project, and despite tri-partisan commitment in this place to increase social and affordable housing in the ACT, sometimes this project did face opposition. But I invite anybody who has had any doubts about this project to see the change that it has made, and the community that is being built around it.

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