Page 3354 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 October 2022

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increasing concentrations of low income households in areas that are further away from employment opportunities, education, health, and other services or social networks, because that is the compromise these women need to make to avoid homelessness. Low income households reliant on the private rental market also have to compromise on the appropriateness of housing to be able to afford somewhere to call home. They may need to live in overcrowded accommodation or live in housing that is not adaptable or accessible to their physical needs.

We know that the needs of Housing ACT tenants are changing and we need the public housing stock to reflect these changes—for example, through delivering more accessible and class C adaptable properties. I thank Minister Vassarotti for the work she has done as ACT Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction in achieving mandatory accessibility standards in the National Construction Code so that all homes in future will be built to universal design standards.

We know our public housing stock is ageing and we need our public housing stock to be climate wise and energy efficient so that everyone can afford to heat and cool their home. The ACT government is already responding to these challenges through the growth and renewal program by investing over a billion dollars to build 400 more properties and renew 1,000 properties. But if this historic debt is abolished, we will be able to do more. The provision of an energy efficient class C adaptable property for each tenancy is life-changing, and it is what our community deserves.

Everyone needs a safe place that they can call home, one that they feel proud of and where they can live with dignity. We must do everything in our power to provide this to everyone who needs it here in the ACT. While we are writing to the commonwealth government, one last thing: raise the rate. Thank you.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (4.56): I rise today in support of the amendment moved by Mr Barr. I welcome Mr Parton bringing the motion to the Assembly. It is, as we have noted, very similar to a call made—and supported by all parties—by my colleague Mr Davis earlier this year. As I have acknowledged before, I believe the issue of responding to our housing affordability crisis is something that binds all parties in this chamber. While we have different ideas about how to respond, I do see this as an area that we can find common ground on and work together to support everyone in our community to have a decent home. In this place, we have extensively ventilated the reasons why we are in this situation, the issues faced here in the ACT and nationally. My colleague Minister Davidson continues to awe us with her grasp of the data and information around these issues.

Mr Parton: And we love it.

MS VASSAROTTI: We do. In an area that is complex and challenging, easy measures should be welcomed and actioned quickly. Given this, as I expressed last week, and as I think many fellow colleagues in this room felt, I was feeling extremely disappointed on hearing the news that the federal Labor government will not be acting immediately on this much-needed relief. It was particularly disappointing to hear this news, given that they were not in a position to provide debt relief to the ACT

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