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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1060 ..

The continued lack of interest from the federal coalition government in addressing homelessness continues to be a challenge not just for us but for the whole country. I invite Mr Parton, who is calling for increased funding in the homelessness and housing space, to join with me and call on the federal government to waive the ACT government’s historic housing loan repayments as they did in Tasmania. That would mean an additional $15 million invested in Public Housing ACT.

I encourage the Canberra Liberals to join with me on that call. I have been asking for that loan waiver for a number of years. There is no reason why the ACT government should be treated any differently from the Tasmanian government in that space, and that waiver would make a difference in providing more housing in the ACT.

I am incredibly proud of the work that the Housing ACT team does to deliver public housing and put clients at the centre of everything they do. These initiatives, funded through the government’s budget, will help to deliver that.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (11.43): The majority of my comments on specialist homelessness services were made during the debate on the Community Services Directorate, but I want to make some additional brief comments. The ACT government and Housing ACT has continued to provide safe, affordable and appropriate housing to meet the needs of low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families across Canberra. They have maintained this service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which was no easy task. In what had been a face-to-face service, this was particularly important, given that three out of every 10 tenancies included an older person who was more vulnerable to COVID-19. I thank Housing ACT staff for this work.

Throughout 2019-2020, 99 per cent of all new allocations to public housing were to those in greatest need. The total portfolio of 11,654 properties underpins Canberra’s human services system and is assisting 21,174 people. In the past year, more than any other, we know the importance of having a safe and secure home, and I commend the work of Housing ACT and the continued investment in this area.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Major Projects Canberra—Part 1.12

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.44): I rise on behalf of Minister Steel who has responsibility for Major Projects Canberra. Since the last budget the government has created Major Projects Canberra as a stand-alone agency. Under Minister Steel’s stewardship of the Major Projects, we are delivering two of our city’s most significant projects: building on the next stage of Canberra’s light rail network and delivering the new CIT campus in the Woden town centre.

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