Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 13 August 2015) . . Page.. 2841 ..
Housing ACT—schedule 1, part 1.12.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.38): I am pleased to speak today about housing in the budget. In the estimates hearings I asked a number of questions about housing along the Northbourne Avenue precinct relating to public housing tenants, especially Owen flats residents. Using the Owen flats residents as an example, I asked whether residents would be moved into available public housing properties before people on the published waiting list for ACT Housing—which is available from the ACT Housing website—or would Owen flats residents be added to the priority housing waiting list. In response, Mr David Matthews, the Executive Director of Housing and Community Services ACT, said:
… the answer to that question in short is no. They have a different status. They are a management-initiated transfer or an out-of-turn transfer. So they do not appear on that priority count.
They have a “different status”, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Northbourne Avenue public housing tenants are added to the management-initiated transfer waiting list, also referred to as the out-of-turn transfer waiting list. We have the published social housing waiting list, which covers the housing register waiting list and waiting times, and the transfer register with the waiting list and waiting times. As at 3 August 2015 there are a total of 2,166 people on the waiting list for ACT Housing, with 98 of those being categorised as priority—that is, they need priority housing. People assessed as requiring priority housing wait on average 238 days. That is approximately six months. You have been assessed as needing priority housing, but you are waiting approximately six months to get that housing.
If you are on the standard housing list, good luck to you ever getting housing from Housing ACT. There are 764 people in the standard housing category, and they wait on average two years and three months. Then, of course, there are people on the transfer list. These are people who have been able to get a public housing property, which is great—probably after waiting for quite a considerable time, might I add—but they find that it is perhaps not in the area that best suits them. We talk about people needing to feel connected to their community—being close to their family and other members of their community. It might be a church group, maybe close to their children’s schools.
People who may be quite desperate take a public housing property, but they want to be more connected to the community they have left behind. They will wait a very, very long time. It takes pretty much a year to get a priority transfer. And now we hear there is a third list. These poor people who have been on the list for years now hear there is another list. Why is there another list? Because this government is pursuing light rail down the Northbourne Avenue corridor. They are moving those people onto that management-initiated or out-of-turn transfer list instead.
What this means is that those people on the priority housing, high needs housing or standard housing waiting lists will have to wait even longer than the times currently specified on the Community Services Directorate’s website: priority housing,