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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2021) . . Page.. 414 ..

The ACT government is doing its bit to deliver outcomes for social and affordable housing in Canberra. If we can agree on this tripartisan commitment with the Canberra Liberals, I hope that we can achieve even more.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (3.54): I would firstly like to thank Mr Parton for his motion today and particularly recognise some of the focus in the motion on the role of community housing and supporting affordable housing.

Housing is an issue that I deeply care about. As someone who has worked with community housing providers, I have seen firsthand the positive impact they have on our community. Housing is a priority area for the Greens. We are highly aware that our community wants us and expects us to address the significant housing and homelessness issues in our community.

I want to acknowledge the important role that community housing providers play in ensuring that every Canberran has a home. As tenancy managers, they provide a different approach to private real estate agents or private landlords and are able to invest in supporting individual households as well as creating a sense of community across the tenancies they manage. It was particularly striking that, through the COVID-19 period, I was provided with information about how community housing providers were able to often provide rental reductions for tenants who were impacted by this health and economic crisis, which was a great relief to those households.

I thank Mr Parton for bringing ideas to the table. However, I acknowledge that many of the measures that will increase community housing in Canberra that have been noted and proposed in the motion are already being progressed through the ACT Housing Strategy. That is why the Greens will be supporting the government amendments today.

The rental and housing market in Canberra is a difficult place, particularly for those on lower incomes. While many are able to afford the higher rents in the ACT, due to higher median wages, there are far too many people in our community who do not have appropriate housing choices available to them. This includes single parent families; students; people with insecure work and underemployment; and, of course, people who are dependent on the income support safety net. We also know that life circumstances can mean that a rental arrangement that worked for your family can suddenly create housing and financial stress, a job loss, an injury or illness, or things that commonly happen to people in the community.

The Greens believe that one person without a home is too many and we believe that it is possible to deliver a home for all. We are deeply concerned that there are a growing number of people who are facing the lack of a home. With a culture that sees rental as a temporary housing option, there is a lack of understanding of the ongoing financial and emotional impacts of rent that eat up more and more of one’s income.

A home for all was a central part of our election campaign, and we recognise the need to think creatively around solutions. This is not an issue the government can solve

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