Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 895 ..
However, things are moving in the right direction for Canberra. While there was a nationwide increase in homelessness, homelessness did fall in Canberra by approximately eight per cent. Even with an 11 per cent increase in the number of people living in Canberra between 2011 and 2016, homelessness fell by 8.1 per cent.
This decrease is occurring through a combination of factors. I realise that there are some issues around the reliability of that data as well. However, the ACT government is undertaking a massive project to renew our public housing stock—1,288 new dwellings in Canberra, which will help those in our society who are in need of shelter. We are now at the halfway point, with 662 dwellings becoming available. I think that is a fantastic milestone.
Many of those renewal properties are being built in my electorate of Murrumbidgee. There are approximately 70 in Chapman, Holder, Mawson and Wright. The government has been working with the communities on these projects, despite some opposition from the Liberal Party. When completed they will complement the existing range of public housing that is already in my community in places like Coombs and in my own home suburb of Kambah.
I understand that sometimes there is opposition to those developments, but we are living in an egalitarian city. That means making sure that our most vulnerable people are supported. It is what makes Canberra a great place to live. I fully support the government’s public housing renewal and its push to locate public housing across all suburbs in Canberra. Significant concentrations of high density disadvantage along Northbourne Avenue in particular and in other areas like Red Hill were not an ideal situation. We have been addressing that in a systemic way.
Our government is working and consulting on a new housing strategy. Last year Minister Berry held the housing homelessness summit. It had some important outcomes, including the $1 million housing innovation fund, which will look at affordable rentals, new affordable housing targets and home sharing, including intergenerational home sharing. The outcome of the summit also demonstrated what people want the ACT government to prioritise with housing. People want to see a stronger homelessness sector to address gaps in services, including more crisis accommodation and coordination in the sector. They want to see more social housing stock and, indeed, a more diverse stock so that people have better access to the homes that suit them.
People want to see rentals become more affordable but also they want to see more affordable homes become available to purchase, and there is a need to build more affordable housing properties. So this process is ongoing. By the end of 2018 we will have a housing strategy that looks at the challenges facing the ACT in relation to housing affordability and homelessness. It is important to note that the ACT is one of the top jurisdictions when it comes to improving housing affordability and providing public housing.
We are doing a lot of things right. As we grow in population we must continue to work hard to ensure that we outperform other jurisdictions to minimise the number of