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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 974 ..

(d) continue to ensure the provisions and performance benchmarks in the facilities maintenance contract for public housing are enforced; and

(e) report back to this Assembly by the last sitting week in October on progress of the growth and renewal program and public housing stock.”

Mr Assistant Speaker, in responding to Mr Parton’s motion I am going to begin by discussing the ACT government’s housing renewal program. It is an important part of this story, because it means that at the end of 2025 there will be a 20 per cent renewal in public housing stock in the ACT. The ACT has some of the oldest public housing stock in the country. This renewal program is about ensuring that those maintenance requirements in older public housing are relieved by having newer, easier to maintain public housing. It is part of a longer and more detailed story about how the ACT government builds homes that best suit the needs of tenants in the ACT, but it also relieves that pressure on some of the older houses which are more difficult to maintain. Anybody who lives in an older home or a rental can definitely attest to that.

We have clearly demonstrated our commitment with the significant investment that the ACT government has made in public housing. Over the next five years the ACT government is investing more than half a billion dollars to build 1,400 new, modern, efficient properties, including 400 extra homes for those in need. This program includes direct budget investment of over $150 million. This is per capita. It is the biggest investment of public housing in the country. As I said, it will see almost a quarter of our public housing stock renewed. Over $1.2 billion has been invested in public housing from 2014 to 2025. This investment builds on the success of previous public housing renewal programs, which saw the replacement of 1,288 ageing and no longer fit for purpose properties in higher concentrations with more efficient homes in smaller developments spread across our great city.

Right now we have around 500 new properties in various stages of the development pipeline. This includes those currently being designed, with the Planning and Land Authority for approvals, out for procurement and/or under construction. When Housing ACT looks at sites to redevelop, it targets the older, more inefficient homes that no longer meet the needs of our tenants and, as I described, are no longer practical to upgrade. Property condition assessments are occurring right now to assess the state of every public housing property to determine what works would need to be done for the future of the dwelling, whether to retain and upgrade, demolish and rebuild, or renew and redevelop.

When a determination is made that a property is no longer able to be upgraded, our tenants are supported by the housing managers and a really dedicated team of tenant relocation officers to find them a new home that meets their needs. These officers do incredible work. They work very closely with tenants to determine their housing needs and find an appropriate place that they can call home. I have been able to meet so many tenants who have been part of this relocation process. Although some are reluctant at first, understandably—many of these tenants have been in their homes for many years and moving is a big change for anyone, including our public housing tenants—they have spoken highly of the work that Housing ACT does, as well as the amazing support of these relocation officers.

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