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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2021) . . Page.. 416 ..

To conclude, we will be supporting the Labor amendment, which I believe clarifies that community housing providers are already an important part of the ACT Housing Strategy and that we must continue with implementation.

This is an issue that we will need to continue to put energy, effort and resources into. I look forward to working with Minister Berry, in my capacity as Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services, in delivering the housing commitments of the parliamentary and governing agreement. In doing this, I trust that we will work collaboratively across the Legislative Assembly—as well as with key stakeholders, including community housing providers—to achieve our shared goal of ensuring that everyone in Canberra has a decent home.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.01): I want to say a few words about Ms Berry’s amendment. Mr Parton has done a good job of outlining what he believes and what we believe needs to be done. I want to talk, specifically, a little bit about NRAS, the National Rental Affordability Scheme. A Grattan review showed that only half of NRAS properties went to the poorest 20 per cent. I believe we need to think about how to best address those people most at risk of homelessness, those most vulnerable in our community, those in the lowest or even the two lowest quintiles. Is NRAS the best way to do that? It seems to me that our stagnating levels of housing stock mean that there is little flow of social housing for those who are the most vulnerable in the ACT. We need to make sure we are helping those at the very bottom. The question is: is more social housing the best way to do that, rather than more affordable housing?

Many other points in Mr Parton’s motion highlight the way this government’s policy has contributed to unaffordability of housing and why the ACT is one of the most expensive jurisdictions. I want to highlight the fact that we should be focusing on the policies that will do the most—potentially at the least cost—to better help low-income families in Canberra. We should be targeting those who are at most serious risk of homelessness, those teetering on the brink of homelessness whose lives are so stressful, every week, every fortnight, every pay day wondering how they are going to afford the other necessities of life on top of their housing cost. These people are in housing stress; they are in housing crisis. If they have children, their children will be going without in very many ways, whether it is school excursions, clothing choices or food choices. These are the people we should be here to best support. I commend Mr Parton’s motion to the Assembly.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.04): I love it how these amendments work. Ms Vassarotti spoke to me very briefly in an email at 9.30 this morning—and I appreciate the engagement that my office has had with hers on this—about these amendments, and clearly she had the whole swag. I had not seen them. I love it that when we did media at midday today some of the journalists gave me an inkling as to what was in the amendments, but the very first time I got to see them was 15 minutes before we debated them. I know it sounds like I am being snarky and everything else, but as we move forward it might be worthwhile—

Ms Berry interjecting—

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