Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2524 ..
MS BERRY: First of all, as I have said previously, these particular houses that will be built were never planned for public housing. Having public housing in those numbers on those blocks would have meant a very high density of public housing in one area. Defence and the federal government recognised the great work that the renewal taskforce is doing and the quality of the product that it builds. They had a need to build housing for the great defence families, over 3,000 defence families, who live in our town and they were able to provide finance for that build straightaway. It was a good arrangement where there was recognition for the excellent work that ACT public servants have done through the renewal taskforce. It also provides a good social mix so that there is not a high density of public housing on that site.
MRS KIKKERT: What does a better social mix do for Canberrans who are denied an affordable housing opportunity?
MS BERRY: That is really quite a silly question. I have explained again and again that the whole purpose behind the renewal of public housing in the ACT was to provide higher quality, newer homes that were affordable for families to heat in winter and cool in summer: much more sustainable and environmentally friendly. They were also designed to make sure that we remove that high densification of low-or no-income people living together, which does not provide the social benefits that a mixed—
Mr Parton: If we say that, we’re—
MS BERRY: All the experts say it Mr Parton. That is the case. There is advice from ACT Shelter, ACTCOSS—all the organisations that advise me on the decisions that government makes—that high density public housing does not lead to good social benefits for housing tenants. This program is about making sure that there is a good social housing mix all across the city, which is completely in line with the ACT government’s salt and pepper policy of having public housing distributed all across our neighbourhoods. This is appropriate and gives us all the chance to have public housing tenants as excellent neighbours.
MR PARTON: Minister, how can you possibly argue that you aim to assist those suffering from housing stress when the Public Housing Renewal Taskforce is building 33 dwellings for the Defence Housing Authority?
MS BERRY: I am surprised that the Liberal Party are not supporting our defence families. Defence families are an important part of our community, indeed, for Australia as well. This is a great—
Mr Coe: It’s bizarre.
MS BERRY: It is not bizarre at all; it is a very great outcome for a number of reasons: it provides a good social mix of housing; it provides housing for our fantastic defence families—
Opposition members interjecting—