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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3211 ..

This government also has a focus on improving women’s economic independence. In March I launched a new and innovative initiative—the ACT women’s microcredit program. The program gives women on low incomes the opportunity to access small interest-free loans of up to $3,000. I am pleased to say that we have issued nine loans since the launch in March of this year.

On multicultural affairs, this budget continues our support on helping multicultural communities to maintain their cultural identity. An additional $25,000 per year has been allocated to the multicultural language program to support community language schools with the implementation of their language programs. Funding of $25,000 per year over the next four years will go to multicultural youth services to support young people, particularly refugees and asylum seekers.

This funding complements the recent opening of multicultural youth services with their relocation to the multicultural centre just across the way, giving the service increased and more flexible space. I am also pleased to say that not only does this budget provide initiatives to support direct service delivery to the community, but it also supports funding for a number of significant capital works aimed at improving infrastructure and support. This includes: $2.068 million to enable a broad range of works across childcare centres and community facilities; $3.412 million for the enhancement of a range of facilities, including new regional community facilities; and $4 million to refurbish part of the former primary school site.

Let me finish by saying that this is a budget that I am proud to have been part of. This is a budget that will deliver money for carers, for vulnerable families, for women, for youth, for people with a disability, for our multicultural communities and for ACT families.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.18—Housing ACT—$43,617,000 (net cost of outputs) and $31,024,000 (capital injection), totalling $74,641,000.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (11:24): Analysing Housing ACT is a difficult exercise as the available numbers do not create an overly clear picture. There has been significant investment in housing through the federal stimulus funding. The Greens have asked, however, several times for the minister for housing to report on what the peak numbers of houses will be once the stimulus houses have come online. We have not yet received a clear answer on that, although the latest report is around 12,009 by 2012-13.

The Greens congratulate the government on passing that 12,000 figure, but we are concerned about what will happen once Housing ACT reaches that figure. Will the government continue to invest beyond that or will the numbers drop back? What good is the stimulus package if the numbers are not maintained? I do recall or at least understand that the stimulus package was meant to be on top of that investment which states and territories would normally make. The government has previously said that it maintains its stock numbers by selling some housing and then using the money to buy more. But it is unclear how much money the government reinvests in social housing stock.

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