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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (23 May) . . Page.. 1640 ..


MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Housing and Family Services) (10.43): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to present the Housing Assistance (Amendment) Bill 1996.

Leave granted.

MR STEFANIAK: I present the Housing Assistance (Amendment) Bill 1996 and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

In December 1995, State Housing Ministers and the then Commonwealth Minister agreed to the introduction of a new transitional Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement. The new Commonwealth Government has indicated its intention to proceed with the introduction of an interim agreement. This interim agreement is scheduled to commence on 1 July 1996. It is proposed that the interim Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement be in place for one to three years, pending long-term and more substantial reforms for housing assistance arrangements.

The Bill that I am introducing today is framed to enable housing assistance in the ACT to be administered under the interim agreement. The existing prescriptive agreement is replaced with a more flexible arrangement that will allow the Government more scope in the provision of housing to low and middle income earners in the ACT. The principal amendments proposed in this Bill to amend the Housing Assistance Act 1987 are: The insertion of a list of objects for the provision of housing assistance in the ACT; the removal of the current Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement as a schedule; and changes to the financial administration requirements. The other amendments are of a technical nature or for the purpose of achieving consistency with other legislation. Including the objectives in the Act gives a clear indication to all concerned of the Government's intent and purpose in the delivery of housing assistance in the ACT. These objectives are the framework of the provision of a range of affordable quality housing options to those in most need in the most flexible and cost-efficient manner possible.

The objects, which are consistent with the provisions of the interim Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement, are summarised as follows: To maximise the opportunities for access to housing which is affordable, secure and appropriate to needs; to facilitate the provision of housing assistance to those most in need; to maximise value for money in the provision of housing assistance; to promote choice in forms of assistance and providers; to facilitate the provision of rental housing of adequate amenity, adequate size and appropriate location; to facilitate the provision of an adequate supply of affordable home finance for low to moderate income earners; to promote the development of flexible and innovative financial arrangements to facilitate access to home ownership for

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