Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3749 ..
“We have been placed into hotels since 1 July”—I cannot give you details on when this was written—“due to mould being found all up our walls all over our bedroom.” Another says, “Garbage and other items”—that is the same as the first one, but that is all right; you get the gist of it. I could go on, and I am sure other members receive similar representations.
These representations are bona fide and genuine pleas for help. I am often genuinely perplexed. When I say that I am genuinely perplexed, I know that I am the shadow minister and you expect shadow ministers to throw grenades over the trenches to the other mob and have a crack at them. But after a while it has nothing to do with politics; it is just on a human level. I am completely perplexed as to why I have to keep writing to ministers about such concerning, and often disgusting, circumstances.
You have to sit back and say, “Why is this being allowed to happen here?” We are a progressive city. We are the capital of one of the leading Western nations in the world. We have people who genuinely appear to care. Ms Vassarotti certainly appears to care. Ms Berry appears to care. What is the actual problem here? Do we have a budget problem? Do we have an administrative problem? Do we have a contract management problem, a job reporting problem, or some other disconnect? It is abundantly clear that we do have a problem.
Whatever the problem is, I hope that it can be fixed in this financial year. Maybe it will be. If there is a funding problem, I would suggest that the top priority for the additional $80 million in this budget be dedicated to rescuing tenants from squalor. That is all I am going to say on housing at this stage.
MS ORR (Yerrabi) (4.50): I rise today to speak for Minister Berry, who is unable to be here. The 2021-22 ACT budget includes the single largest investment to both increase and improve affordable and public housing in Canberra in the history of self-government. The ACT already provides the most public housing per 1,000 people of any Australian state or territory, at 26 dwellings per 1,000 people, more than double the national average of 12.
Under the ACT Housing Strategy, the ACT government has established a 10-year program of public housing renewal, representing more than a $1.2 billion investment. This includes the renewal of over 20 per cent of the ACT public housing portfolio stock. In May 2019 Minister Berry launched the Growing and Renewing Public Housing 2019-2024 program, to support the work of the ACT Housing Strategy and deliver its goal to strengthen social housing assistance by providing safe and affordable housing to support low income and disadvantaged Canberrans.
On 5 August 2020 the Chief Minister and Minister Berry announced the expansion of the program, providing economic stimulus through the allocation of funding for the purchase of land and the construction of 60 additional new public housing dwellings, including the expansion of the program by another year, to 30 June 2025. The program now targets 1,000 renewals and 260 additional dwellings by 2024-25. Two years on, the program has made considerable progress on its goals. With a substantial pipeline of works, Housing ACT has facilitated the completed construction of 126