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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2424 ..

commitment to ensuring a sustainable social housing sector, it has transferred eight sites to housing and community services for the development of older persons’ accommodation. The sites will have a total of 297 homes built on them, of which the majority are funded under the nation building and jobs plan. I can inform members that construction has commenced on all eight sites, which puts us ahead of the commonwealth’s time lines and ensures that the ACT will be one of the leaders nationally in delivering on this very important project.

The investment of land by the territory to this initiative is valued at around $30 million and has provided a most welcome boost to the social housing sector. I am advised by my department that the first sites are on track to be handed over in September this year, with the remaining sites being progressively handed over later this year and then early next year. All of the new homes achieve a minimum six-star energy rating, with some achieving a seven-star rating. The homes will also have energy-efficient hot-water units and heaters.

Housing ACT has invited its tenants to put in expressions of interest for these sites. Housing ACT has received 375 registrations of interest from its tenants. These expressions of interest are currently being assessed.

I am pleased to say that the investment of over $10 million by this government and the Australian government will make a significant contribution to achieving the national target of halving primary homelessness in Australia by 2020.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question?

MS PORTER: Minister, could you inform the Assembly whether these developments will have any benefit for those on existing housing waiting lists?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her interest in social housing. A key focus of this spending is on the reduction in homelessness in the ACT. As older tenants move into new homes, the dwellings they vacate will become available for housing those who are on the waiting list. Housing ACT expects to house around 550 new households during the 2009-10 financial year. The significant increase in the supply of social housing properties will also see an increase in the number of new allocations in the 2010-11 financial year. This will mean further significant opportunities for applicants seeking housing, with reduced waiting times and even more targeted accommodation outcomes.

In addition to this new construction, we are also maintaining our support to homelessness services in the ACT. There is also $10 million available over five years for homelessness services through the “A place to call home program”. This is matched with funds between the ACT government and the commonwealth government. A place to call home will provide 20 additional homes for families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

As a consequence of the efforts of both the ACT and the commonwealth governments under the social housing stimulus plan, we are about to achieve a very significant boost to the social housing stock in the ACT. This will reduce homelessness and provide us with the flexibility to take on further aspects of the housing reform agenda.

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