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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 30 June 2011) . . Page.. 3155 ..

The common ground model has several key elements: the accommodation provided will be high quality; tenants will be safe, and this will be ensured by the provision of a 24-hour concierge; tenants will be part of a community comprising a mix of 50 per cent low income and 50 per cent homeless people; permanent accommodation, not transitional accommodation, will be provided; and support services, such as drug and alcohol and mental health services, will be co-located on the site.

It is proposed that up to 85 units will be built on a site at St John’s Church, Reid. If, like me, you walk around Civic early in the morning, you will have seen people sleeping in doorways, even in our cold winters. And, like me, you have probably wondered what can be done to help them. The common ground model has been successful overseas, and accommodation based on these principles has been built in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. For those who now live in common ground accommodation, the change in their circumstances has been life transforming. I welcome this funding for the feasibility study and congratulate the government on its vision for those most in need in our city.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) (1.25 am): The government are committed to providing public housing for those that need it most, and we can be justifiably proud of our achievements during the last year, adding significantly to the public housing stock which already stood at the highest per capita in Australia. We have continued to construct new public housing dwellings thanks to the new public housing program, and we have brought online an extra 421 properties through that.

This year we will see a continued growth of our stock, as I have mentioned, through the intentional communities, a new project that is quite exciting. We are also providing new funding to upgrade existing stock. In this budget we have put an additional $2 million into energy efficiency upgrades for properties. We are committed to the redevelopment of Northbourne Avenue at the Allawah, Bega and Currong units and through the national competition I launched last month for the redesign of Northbourne flats. I am pleased to say that 50 local and national architect firms have registered their interest in that, so the materials will be forwarded to them, and we are planning to announce a winner later in the year.

This budget also allocates $1.2 million over four year for additional specialist support services to address issues causing antisocial behaviours such as drug, alcohol and substance misuse and mental health issues. I think this initiative will tackle an important area and one of significant public interest.

The budget also sets out to do more for those who find themselves homeless. There is additional funding of $508,000 over four years for the street to home project, which works with the chronic homeless to provide them with access to services such as mental health support to help them get back into settled, long-term accommodation. As Dr Bourke has just mentioned, there is $150,000 for a feasibility study into the common ground model, and I am looking forward to that coming back to me at the end of this year.

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