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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2031 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I will deal, firstly, with housing strategy issues. Housing represents one of the most important consumer decisions of every household, whether through purchasing or renting. The expression of satisfaction with housing is a significant measure of overall wellbeing. The housing industry is one of the most important in the ACT and is vital to the overall economic health of Canberra. It has been estimated that, for every $1m spent on residential construction in the ACT, 12 people are employed directly and a further six are employed indirectly. At the end of last year, some 11,600 people, or about 7.4 per cent of the total work force of Canberra, were employed by the housing and construction industry.

Housing is a key link between social, economic, physical and environmental planning and provision. As the Canberra community continues to grow and diversify, it will be increasingly important to consider these linkages in a consistent and holistic way through strategic planning processes. The measure of the success of our planning processes will be the extent to which we have provided good housing choices for the Canberra community, promoted liveability and environmental sustainability, and ensured that the housing needs of Canberra's diverse population are met equitably and appropriately. To meet these objectives, it will be crucial to promote efficient and effective housing provision through integrated urban development and management. The existence of an innovative and healthy housing industry, working in partnership with the Government and the community, will be central to achieving this.

The outcome of the housing strategy will be a housing plan that will outline strategies and actions to achieve these objectives. This plan will be completed in the first half of 1996, in consultation with the industry and the community. As part of the development of this plan, the strategy will assess the current and future housing needs of the population, as well as the challenges facing the ACT housing system in meeting these needs.

The challenges for housing in the ACT include how to improve the housing delivery system to ensure the supply of good quality, affordable housing and the capacity of industry to meet the population's housing requirements; how to meet the needs of an ageing population and to ensure opportunities for continued and enhanced independent living; how to meet the complex needs of many groups who require effective integration of housing with other services to achieve acceptable standards of physical and social wellbeing; how to provide new financing, tenure and design options to accommodate changing household structures; how to integrate housing with other land uses and infrastructure provision; and how to minimise the impact of future development on the environment.

Demographic, social and economic trends will be important influences on future urban growth and demand for housing. Population forecasts for the ACT estimate that, over the next 25 years, the 20- to 29-year age group - traditionally the main household-forming group - will remain fairly stable at about 60,000. However, the older population, particularly those over 65, is expected to increase significantly and become the largest segment of the population by the year 2020. This ageing of the ACT population will have major implications for the type of future housing demand.

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