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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1128 ..


outlined an ambitious program of work across all fronts: tax reform, a reorientation of the public housing authority and a major building program to boost the social and affordable housing supply and to cross-subsidise the government’s social housing priorities.

At the city level, Wellington City Council have committed to their own ambitious housing plan, albeit as primarily an affordable housing provider. In undertaking a renewal program comparable to that here in the ACT, they are seeking to change the way social housing developments happen and the way that they are seen in the community. With the benefit of these discussions and a few site visits, it was a pleasing reference point and confirmation of the extremely high quality housing being delivered under the ACT program and the success of our tenant relocations.

I spoke with Mayor Justin Lester about Wellington city’s program and its goal of improving housing affordability for those on low incomes. As with Canberra, the affordability measures are defined not simply by supply and demand but also by broader tax, planning and industry policy. We agreed that the two cities should continue to exchange information about our respective housing strategies and our shared commitment to growing social housing.

There were similar outcomes in the sport and recreation portfolio. I was able to meet the national minister, the Hon Grant Robertson, and to share both with him and with Wellington councillors the many shared interests in our sport and recreation agendas. They share the ACT government’s determination to achieve gender equity in sport and explained to us that New Zealand will soon take on the chairing of the International Working Group on Women and Sport. Having this forum based in our sister city is likely to present further opportunities for the ACT to showcase its achievements in the area. Minister Robertson made it clear that Canberran representatives would be particularly welcome as part of the events that they will hold.

Wellington is also home to a successful initiative based on female wellbeing through sport and active recreation, focusing on women and girls experiencing disadvantage or isolation. Again, there is an obvious point of collaboration here. I have been able to bring back a good amount of program information to inform future actions here in the ACT.

Finally, in education, this mission allowed me to connect with the New Zealand school system. It is coming full circle on a similar reform journey to Australia. The national Ministry of Education is in the process of implementing the new government’s significant commitments in education, including the removal of national standards. While New Zealand has never had a compulsory national test in the way Australia has NAPLAN, the government came to the view that its equivalent system is detrimental to equity and overall school improvement. This policy has been informed by an evidence-based methodology which holds clear relevance to work the ACT is leading through the education ministerial council.

As we are doing here through the future of education process, I made a point of getting a school-level perspective through a visit to the Karori Normal School, a primary school. As with the teachers and school leaders I meet in Canberra, the staff


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