Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2631 ..
stories—indeed an art exhibition has been held in this place—on the change it has made to the lives of public housing tenants in the ACT. I understand that those exhibitions will continue to be shown throughout the city. I encourage members who have not had the chance to see it here in the Assembly to get along and see that exhibition in other places in this city and learn the stories of some of our public housing tenants.
MS CODY: Minister, how is the renewal program improving the spread of public housing and fostering better outcomes for tenants and the community?
MS BERRY: I thank Ms Cody for the supplementary. The renewal program is developing public housing, as everybody knows, all across Canberra. Older and inefficient dwellings that no longer suit the needs of tenants are being replaced. In line with the government’s salt and pepper approach, these are being built in every region across Canberra. Over 700 of these homes are in growing areas of Canberra such as Gungahlin and Molonglo. These areas have had limited public housing in the past, and new dwellings will offer more choice for public housing tenants looking to be closer to families, schools and services in those areas.
The government is renewing and building housing near the Northbourne corridor, with 202 new dwellings being built as part of the program. This will build on the established network of public housing in the inner north as well as being placed to utilise transport and services. The new homes provide comfortable, accessible housing that is energy efficient, is more affordable to maintain and meets the needs of some of Canberra’s vulnerable residents.
MS ORR: Minister, what other investments is the government making to improve the quality of public housing in Canberra?
MS BERRY: I thank Ms Orr for her question. Significant measures were announced in this year’s budget to improve and build on the quality of public housing in Canberra. Two thousand, two hundred public housing properties will receive energy-efficient products such as split air conditioners through energy efficiency improvement schemes. This $5.7 million initiative will deliver energy-efficient upgrades to help tenants reduce their power bills and use energy more efficiently, as well as cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This will provide significant savings to tenants, up to $500 a year in a reduction in energy bills.
The government is delivering a second dedicated culturally appropriate housing project for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This $4.4 million budget project will build on the success of the first complex. Work has started on the second Common Ground in Dixon. This will be a fantastic project once complete, providing social and affordable housing and a great social mix for tenants. This social mix is working very well at the Gungahlin Common Ground.
Finally, this year’s budget has committed an extra $6.5 million in addition to the $20 million funded each year for the specialist homelessness services sector. This extra funding is targeted at cohorts at risk of chronic homelessness, including women and children escaping domestic violence, older women and migrant families. This