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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3006 ..

circumstance of those businesses. So you need to be a commercial operator owner to be paying rates.

MS CASTLEY: Chief Minister, how many businesses will fall off the cliff, and what will you do about it? Aren’t these people Canberrans too?

MR BARR: My greatest regret through this is that the commonwealth government abandoned JobKeeper. In its second iteration that was a much better-designed program that provided necessary support for business for its largest cost—being labour—and kept the worker attached to the business. Now, unfortunately, because of the rush in the design of the first phase of JobKeeper, tens of billions of dollars were paid to companies that did not need assistance. A lot of that money went into dividends to shareholders and bonuses to executives, when it should have been kept or reclaimed by the commonwealth to provide support for exactly the businesses Ms Castley is talking about.

Budget—public housing

DR PATERSON: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. Minister, how does this year’s ACT budget support public housing in the ACT?

MS BERRY: I thank Dr Paterson for her question. In this year’s budget the ACT’s contribution to housing in the ACT was significant. The ACT government is the largest social landlord, with over 12,000 dwellings, home to more than 20,000 Canberrans. Building on a strong base of public housing, the ACT government will make one of the single largest investments to increase and improve the amount of public housing in the history of self-government, to provide essential housing for low income Canberrans at risk of homelessness.

In the budget $100 million has been committed to increase social and affordable housing in the ACT. In addition to advancing and supporting the build-to-rent and community housing sector, this package includes an additional $80 million for public housing maintenance over the next three years. This funding will ensure that public housing tenants live in safe and secure homes that meet their needs. The package also includes $19 million in additional funding for the Growing and Renewing Public Housing program to support the delivery of the government’s commitment to add 400 additional public housing dwellings and renew another 1,000 properties.

This funding is a strong statement that the government is committed to growing, renewing and maintaining a public housing portfolio that is better able to meet the needs of our diverse community, regardless of their abilities or circumstances. In particular, the maintenance funding injection reflects our commitment to continuously improve the maintenance services to provide homes that suit the diverse needs of our tenants.

The ACT government is the strongest supporter of public housing, with the highest ratio of public housing in the country. This commitment will enable tenants to live in suitable homes for families, people with disabilities, women escaping domestic and

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