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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 977 ..

Four of Housing ACT’s multi-unit complexes will also be upgraded through these programs of upgrades, with external painting at two complexes and replacing balconies at another and major roof upgrades at a fourth. They will also see new reverse cycle heating and cooling and highly efficient electric hot water system upgrades in 1,300 homes. At least 250 properties will receive upgrades to their kitchens, bathrooms or laundries, as well as roof replacements to some stand-alone dwellings. This public housing maintenance stimulus which occurred throughout COVID and is continuing this year was really successful and well received by tenants. I will report back to the Assembly on this program at a later date, as I have asked Housing ACT to explore opportunities to further provide local stimulus through public housing maintenance.

Again, I thank Mr Parton for bringing this motion to the Assembly. It is important that we continue to keep a close eye on the Programmed Total Facilities Management contract to ensure that it is meeting the requirements that are there in the contract to obviously do the maintenance and upgrades within our public housing dwellings but to do that respectfully with our tenants. Some of them have very complex and complicated lives and need extra support both from Housing ACT and Programmed. I commend my amendment to the Assembly.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (3.27): I thank Mr Parton for bringing this urgent motion before the Assembly today. One of the first complaints I received after being elected in 2016 concerned maintenance of a public housing property in my electorate. The residents were facing many of the specific issues listed in Mr Parton’s motion, and the longstanding problems were not only affecting the household but had also spread to impact surrounding neighbours. Over the past four and a half years, I have had no shortage of complaints from residents of public housing about lack of maintenance.

In addition to complaints made by public housing residents about maintenance, I have also received complaints about vacant public housing properties. Just the other week, I wrote to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development concerning two properties that have remained vacant for weeks and even months, despite appearing to be in good condition. It may very well be the case that these properties have significant maintenance issues that need to be resolved before new residents can move in. However, some time has passed, and I have not received any updates. Neither have my constituents, who all reside nearby and are eager to see these homes occupied again. The good people who live in this particular neighbourhood are conscious of the fact that there is a long waiting list of Canberrans who are desperate for housing, and it naturally does not sit well with them to see these properties seemingly abandoned.

Recently, I received a complaint from another public housing resident, who has been waiting for weeks for essential maintenance on her property. The bathroom regularly floods when it rains and even just when the shower is used. This is an unacceptable standard of living in the nation’s capital. No-one should have to wait weeks for such urgent repairs. As we all know, the longer the wait, the more costly the repairs will be as the property continues to deteriorate.

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