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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1672 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

I would like to read from a letter to an ACT Housing tenant in response to a letter he sent to Senator Amanda Vanstone, the Minister for Family and Community Services. The letter is from Fiona Smart, Assistant Secretary, Housing Support Branch. Obviously, for the sake of privacy, I will not mention the name of the tenant. The letter, which I am happy to table, states:

Thank you for your letter of 3 December 2002 to the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone, about funding under the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement. The Minister has asked me to respond on her behalf.

The Commonwealth and the ACT Government entered into a four year bilateral agreement for housing assistance under the 1999 Commonwealth State Housing Agreement (CSHA) which commenced on 1 July 1999. In 2002-2003, the Australian Capital Territory received Commonwealth funding of over $24 million. The ACT will contribute around $8 million over the same period. Although the strategic directions for housing assistance are subject to Commonwealth agreement, it is up to the ACT Government to decide its priorities for expenditure of CSHA funds, including maintenance of properties.

Under the CSHA, broad housing objectives are established in a multilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and all states and territories. Specific state and territory priorities are contained in bilateral agreements. The ACT bilateral agreement includes the objective of making multi-unit sites better and safer places to live.

On 25 October 2002 the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone, offered State and Territory Housing Ministers an increase in Commonwealth funding for the 2003 CSHA to provide $4.75 billion over five years. She outlined that states and territories will be around $213 million better off if the current CSHA had continued for the next five years. The Minister's funding offer will allow five years of fiscal certainty for states and territories to provide housing assistance and will also feature indexation for the first time. States and territories will be asked to focus on the reduction of workforce disincentives and to increase private sector involvement in affordable housing as priorities in the 2003 CSHA. As with the current agreement, states and territories will have the flexibility to develop policies and deliver services to reflect the diversity of needs and priorities in their jurisdictions.

I hope my comments are of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely

Fiona Smart

Assistant Secretary

Housing Support Branch

15 January 2003.

Illuminating, isn't it? I just want to conclude, Mr Deputy Speaker, by thanking the house for allowing me to put these facts forward and to place them on the public record.

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