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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 980 ..

The ACT government recognises the realities of managing a portfolio of residential properties that includes ageing stock. That is one of the reasons it has committed $1 billion to the growth and renewal program. Housing ACT regularly audits the status of stock and works with tenants residing in properties that may be appropriate to include in the renewal program. As we work through this program, this will see tenants provided with more modern homes that meet their needs. This will be particularly important for vulnerable tenants, including those who are ageing. This will change the nature of the needs of tenants in relation to repairs and maintenance and will deliver on outcomes such as delivering more sustainable homes for our tenants, making them more comfortable and cheaper to heat and cool.

Again, I thank Mr Parton and the opposition for their interest in this important issue and the motion that really looks to the safety and wellbeing of Housing ACT tenants. As the minister for housing services, I share this interest. I am working hard every day with my colleague Minister Berry to ensure Housing ACT residents are in homes that are safe, comfortable and sustainable. I know that staff within Housing ACT are committed to this too and are ensuring that the repairs and maintenance issues are responded to in a timely manner. I thank them for the work that they are doing in managing a challenging contract that sees a large volume of requests generated each year.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (3.38): In closing, I would love to support the amendment, but I cannot. When Minister Berry amends a motion of mine, historically, I expect it to be a full knockdown and rebuild, Mr Assistant Speaker, but in this case it is more like a renovation. I certainly give credit to that, but I just do not think it is a renovation that improves the property. It crosses the threshold whereby I can live with it. I think the motion is much stronger in its original form. In her act of not completely gutting my motion, Ms Berry has, to her credit, in part admitted that there is a bit of a problem here. I am not convinced that these problems will be fixed by the government in a timely manner. I think that there is a deeper problem going on here that has not fully played out in public.

The biggest single reason that I cannot support the amendment is that the minister has removed (3)(b), which calls on the government to:

commit to a program to determine the actions and work required to rectify all dwellings that are in breach of, or below health and safety standards;

How is it that we can be in the chamber even debating that? Yet indeed it has been removed! That particular clause has been removed and that is just not acceptable to me. And I can tell you that it will not be acceptable to those tenants who are currently living in substandard circumstances and are on many occasions risking their health and safety.

To her credit, Ms Berry has replaced that clause with something that sort of goes two-thirds of the way there. That is, the amendment calls on the government to:

reaffirm its commitment that all public housing dwellings meet health and safety standards;

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