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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 February 2018) . . Page.. 392 ..

MS CHEYNE: Can the Chief Minister provide further detail on the government’s motivation for modernising public housing across the city?

MR BARR: As I am sure members are aware, we have the oldest public housing stock in Australia. We have a public housing stock that was built for a different purpose from that currently applied. We have the best targeting of public housing in the nation in terms of allocating housing to those in the greatest need.

But the housing that was built in Canberra during the 1950s and 1960s was built to house incoming public servants whose departments were being shifted, particularly from Sydney and Melbourne, into the national capital. It was built at a time when environmental standards that we take for granted today were not at the forefront of thinking and it was built for a particular type of individual, less so for family units.

So there has been a need to both renew the public housing stock and to distribute it so that we achieve our broader goals of ensuring that public housing and community housing are distributed throughout the city and that the housing is modern, contemporary, meets current standards for environmental performance and liveability and that it is the housing that suits the needs of our existing and future tenants.


MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Planning and Land Management. I refer the minister to an article in the Canberra Times on 13 January this year about a proposal by the Labor club to seek a change to the allowable uses on the lease for a former bank building next to the City Labor Club. The Labor club does not currently own the building. Why does the Labor club have standing to change the lease of a building it does not own?

MR GENTLEMAN: I think you would have to ask the Labor club about that. In regard to lease changes, of course people can apply to change the lease purpose of the area they have control over. They would have to go through that process with ACTPLA and go through the public process of lease variation change.

MR PARTON: Minister, what actions will you take to ensure that due process is followed in consideration of this proposal?

MR GENTLEMAN: With all proposals for lease variation change, there is a statutory process that the independent authority goes through, and I stand by the process that the independent authority goes through in regard to lease variation changes or, indeed, to the whole gamut of planning in the ACT. They do a fantastic job for the territory, I believe, and they have my full support.

MR COE: Minister, can tenants usually seek to change the crown lease and is the Labor club taking this on because they might get a better hearing being the landlord?

MR GENTLEMAN: I reject the premise of Mr Coe’s question in regard to any extra treatment for the Labor Club over anybody else. Indeed, I would imagine that our authorities would be very careful in the way that they deal with that particular change.

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