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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 February 2018) . . Page.. 391 ..

MR BARR: For purposes of either residential development or environmental offset; or a combination of both.


MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Chief Minister. It relates to targets for affordable community and public housing which he signed off yesterday. These show a housing target of 143 new public housing dwellings and 34 new community housing dwellings in 2017-18, out of the 4,120 dwellings to be released across urban renewal sites and new land releases. Minister, can you explain why the targets for public and community housing are so low and will not meet the real and growing need for affordable housing in our city?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. Ms Le Couteur’s question assumes one fiscal year in isolation of what has preceded it and what will follow. I think it is unfair of Ms Le Couteur to characterise the 2017-18 fiscal year or the future fiscal year as being the determinant of all future affordable housing opportunities that will present themselves, and the substantial history, in recent years in particular, of renewal and enhancement of public housing.

I make the broader observation that it becomes more and more challenging to find available sites, particularly when the overlay of as much as possible distribution of public and social housing around the city is factored into the equation. There still remain some suburbs where there is little or no public and community housing, and some other suburbs where the concentration of public and community housing is at a level that is inconsistent with the salt-and-pepper approach that has been adopted by this government and indeed governments before us.

So there are a range of factors that need to be considered. There will never be a level of supply that will meet available demand, given that we are an island within a greater state in a larger country. We need to be realistic also about our capacity to meet demand in that context.

MS LE COUTEUR: Why are there some suburbs that have zero public housing allocations, this is both in the urban renewal sites and some greenfield sites?

Mr Barr: Do you mean in relation to the targets for the current fiscal year?

MS LE COUTEUR: Yes. In the notifiable instruments some have zero.

MR BARR: Because they already either have an existing significant component of housing whereas the land release in this particular year does not support an additional supply. That is not to say that it will not in the future. I think it is important—and I draw Ms Le Couteur’s attention to the history of the year before, the year before that and the year before that—to look at the context of how much housing is available within each of the suburban areas. You cannot take one year in isolation.

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