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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1269 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

proved uneconomic for us to restore to tenantable standard, while others were divested to reduce concentrations of properties in particular areas. It is satisfying to note that the vast majority of these sales, 35, have been to public housing tenants whose financial situation allowed them to buy the homes they had rented for lengthy periods.

In addition, eight properties have been demolished as a result of fires. You would know those around Colquhoun Street, Lyle Crescent, Ammon Place-which is off Colquhoun Street-and Studley Street. Mr Hargreaves and some of his colleagues were very helpful in those days in liaising with the tenants in those streets. You and I, Mr Hargreaves, are going out to give them the keys to the new buildings one day-hopefully, before Christmas. Reconstruction is expected to commence shortly, and the target is to finish them before Christmas.

Since December 2001, ACT Housing has acquired a further 71 properties and has another 10 properties in the pipeline. There are also a number of emergency accommodation options for young people in the Tuggeranong area-namely, the Bellenden Youth Service, Lowanna Young Women's Shelter and Tunladden youth refuge. Complementing these are 22 group houses available to people with a disability.

Members, I can assure you, Mr Hargreaves in particular, that the provision of adequate levels of public housing in Tuggeranong is an ongoing priority. The people want it, and we want to provide it. ACT Housing is continuing to develop and refine its holdings to ensure that people who are eligible for public housing and want to live in Tuggeranong for work, study or family reasons have a full range of options, whatever their age or financial and social situation.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (4.53): I recall from my days as the housing minister the imbalance that Commonwealth government policies created over almost 100 years. When the ACT received self-government, we had the oldest stock in the country. More than a third of suburbs in the inner city were public housing, while some suburbs had no public housing.

Mr Wood: And the Commonwealth much neglected it as well.

MR SMYTH: Tuggeranong has 7 per cent public housing, yet the average across the territory is probably closer to 10 or 11 per cent. Mr Wood interjects that the Commonwealth had neglected public housing. It is true that Commonwealth governments from both sides of politics neglected public housing stock in the ACT. Initially public housing was provided as an incentive for people to come and live in Canberra. They would then move into their own accommodation. That changed over time. What did not change was the location and type of stock. As the stock aged, we had a problem. I thank Mr Wood for his acknowledgment that the previous government did something about it.

This motion notes the high level of demand for public and community housing in the Tuggeranong area. I think all of us know of that demand. The motion also supports the moves by the government to ensure that more public and community housing is available in Tuggeranong. I would question the amount of support the government has given to that.

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