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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3747 ..

in applying the strategic partnership principles to design and deliver targeted, client focused and flexible support to meet emerging needs.

The government acknowledge health, housing and home as fundamental domains of personal wellbeing, and we are really delighted to be able to deliver them through this budget. That is why, over the next four years, we will be using the additional $18 million that has been committed through the parliamentary and governing agreement to expand the capacity of the specialist homelessness services sector. We will continue to work with our partners to co-design and to address homelessness in the ACT.

I would also like to take this moment to thank the Housing ACT staff for working through this particularly difficult time. This work is difficult. They are often working with people in a distressed and highly traumatised state who are dealing with issues that have gone wrong. So I thank all staff for the work that they have done throughout any year but this year in particular.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.42): I have to confess that the housing and homelessness portfolio is the most challenging that I have had in this place, but it has also been, along the way, the most rewarding. I would have to say that those working in the space—including the two ministers in this chamber, the executive group manager of Housing ACT, and all of the housing managers and staff in Housing ACT—have my utmost respect and admiration, because of their jobs and dealing with the challenges that they face. I know that on occasions I do not make their jobs easier, and I am sorry.

Mrs Jones: Not really.

MR PARTON: I am genuinely sorry. I am sorry for that. If I end up causing you grief along the way, it is genuinely in the search for solutions to problems. The difficult challenges in this area should not deter us from making efforts to provide safe living environments for those awarded a public housing tenancy. Other social housing services also need to be reasonable and effective.

In terms of effectiveness, I am guided by the purpose statement in budget statements G, which says:

… Housing ACT provides social housing that is appropriate, affordable and meets the needs and circumstances of low income and disadvantaged people.

Further on, the budget statements say that one of the new strategic and operational initiatives for 2021-22 includes “increasing public housing repairs and maintenance, including kitchen upgrades, domestic violence security works and disability modifications”. There are a number of other commendable initiatives, such as additional funding for ACT Shelter and for ATSI staff in the Community Services Directorate; additional funding for OneLink; the expansion of the Early Morning Centre services; the provision of a second Common Ground; and many other initiatives, including public housing renewal and growth.

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