Page 857 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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properties cost $500,000 each, but a quick online search will show 163 properties currently available in the private market for $500,000 or less. Can I get a better understanding of the ACT government’s strategy to purchase already built properties from the private property market to add to our property stock?

MS BERRY: Housing ACT regularly buys properties off the private market to make sure that we meet the needs of public housing tenants, wherever they want to live in the ACT. There are a range of circumstances which will be involved in the selection of housing—its appropriateness, its sustainability and whether it meets the needs of individual tenants and their families. That is why, through the growth and renewal program, we are investing in both building but also purchasing new homes off the market. Under the growth and renewal program we will be acquiring approximately 280 properties from the private market. We have already purchased 103 properties off the market, so there will be another 130 in the pipeline.

MR DAVIS: Minister, exactly how many properties have been purchased from the private market so far this financial year, and how does the government find them and assess them?

MS BERRY: As I said, Housing ACT regularly buy properties off the market. They have a team which is specifically dedicated to the sale and acquisition of properties across the ACT for our growth and renewal program. For any acquisition, we use independent market valuations and certified practising valuers. The Territory Valuation Services Scheme informs what is the market value and an acceptable range for negotiation, along with, as I said, the needs being for each individual tenant and their families.

MR BRADDOCK: Minister, can you provide information on how the purchase of private properties contributes towards the public housing target in terms of numbers?

MS BERRY: Because we need to meet the needs of each existing individual tenant within our public housing and also new people coming in, we need to make sure we have diversity within our public housing stock, and that includes new homes, but it also includes purchasing homes on the private market. One of the things with purchasing homes on the private market is that it is very difficult to identify where that public housing will exist in the ACT, because they are just like any other home, which is what we attempt to do when we are building new public housing—that it is not easily identifiable. Public housing tenants can live where they like, just like the rest of us across the ACT. In fact, under the housing growth and renewal program, I have often had people write to my office asking me why there is not any public housing on a particular street in a suburb, and I have to write back and correct them—that, in fact, there is public housing; they just cannot identify it.

Light rail—stage 2 construction costs

MR PARTON: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, at the recent State of the Territory speech you suggested that there were some challenges in the ACT government’s infrastructure program—that it had found itself under pressure.

You went on to say that the extension of the light rail to Woden would rely on deals with the commonwealth. You said, and I quote: “We will need the federal government

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