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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 17 November 2011) . . Page.. 5553 ..

extended. The buildings that are retained in the final development will be comprehensively refurbished and may be modified.

I believe the scheme will bring many benefits for public housing and the broader Canberra community. Firstly, I would like to state that the tenants in Northbourne flats will remain as public housing tenants—that is, they are assured of accommodation, whether it be on site or at another location.

As I have previously indicated, 10 per cent of the dwellings will be retained for public housing. Housing will be found for all current tenants, and I expect some tenants will use this project as an opportunity to find housing closer to where they work, study or where their families live.

The broader Canberra community will benefit through higher residential densities and more people supporting a major public transport route. Higher levels of housing close to the city will encourage people to walk, cycle or catch public transport to where they want to go. Increasing the quantity of housing along our principal road corridors is critical to achieving a sustainable transport system for our community.

Northbourne flats were constructed in the late 1950s to accommodate the influx of public servants moving to Canberra. Weave provides the opportunity to create homes that are fit for the second century of Canberra, and it will create a greater social mix and richness in the Braddon and Turner areas.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Could the minister please reaffirm that all of the moneys realised from this project will go into public housing, and could she tell us how current housing stocks compare to historic levels?

MS BURCH: The government have a record on public housing and our record is a strong one. Through our investment and the unprecedented investment provided through the federal government stimulus package investment, the current public housing stock is significantly higher than when we came to government in 2001.

As indicated last week, while the Northbourne flats redevelopment will result in a slight reduction in public housing on that site, the ACT government will see public housing stock levels are maintained, and we will achieve this by investing in new housing in other locations. This is in keeping with the ACT government’s policy of breaking down the concentrations of public housing in our larger housing complexes, which we know lead to poorer social outcomes for residents.

I am pleased to say that Housing ACT is closing in on 12,000 properties. I would like to say that this is an all-time high since self-government but unfortunately I cannot. As those members in this place with long memories may recall, at one point we had over 12,000 properties for Canberra’s vulnerable families. In fact, since self-government the ACT peaked at 12,500 properties in 1996, but between 1996 and 2001 we saw more than 1,000 properties in our housing stock removed. It is perhaps no coincidence that this also corresponded with the period that the Canberra Liberals were last in government.

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