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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1766 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Why was that decision made before the spatial plan/non-urban capability study review and before input from the affected residents of Stromlo and Uriarra?

The initiative to reset the subsidy for house purchasing costs, particularly low-income earners, is welcome, but limited in effect. As I understand it, it will bring the number of people eligible to about the same as it was when the scheme was first introduced some years ago. The $4,780 will ease some of the burden, but will not reduce the cost of housing itself.

There is no new commitment of funds in this budget to increase the supply of public housing. In the situation of the current housing crisis and the growing certainty that the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement will be backing away from capital works, steady as she goes will not make a difference.

Anyone who is on a priority 2 listing will know that their chance of ever getting a house is quite low. All the housing crisis services recognise that one of their supply problems is the difficulty in finding places for clients to live. The $3 million for community housing, which will include some funding for new premises, is a welcome adjunct to public housing, particularly as it is not a direct stock transfer from public housing this time. I look forward with great anticipation to the government's response to the report of the affordability task force; but, without having money set aside to implement the findings, it is difficult to have faith in how it will be solving the problems.

Homelessness gets attention, which is good, but is mistakenly confused in the social sustainability media release with efforts towards affordable housing. Attention to increasing affordable housing will help reduce some homelessness, but efforts to prevent or address homelessness cannot be called measures for affordability. The budget contains funding for new places for families and single men, which was identified in the homelessness needs analysis as the service with the highest reported utilisation. Indeed, there were almost no services for families. However, another identified gap-SAAP services in Belconnen and Gungahlin, with particular emphasis on young people and indigenous people-has received nothing.

SAAP services for single women have not received additional funding, although there is a crisis in that sector, and the proposal from the sector for outreach workers from the community sector to assist women with mental health problems and prevent homelessness became an initiative that apparently will be funding additional mental health workers within the department. While this is sorely needed, it is not going to provide the innovative, effective outreach service proposed by Toora. Such a service has been a key recommendation of the status of women report, the homelessness needs analysis, community consultations undertaken as part of the affordable housing task force report, and the mental health needs analysis report.

The indigenous housing program has not been progressed. There is no new funding, although there is, at long last, a trilateral agreement and the $350,000 per year for sector growth will continue. I sincerely hope and urge that the allocation of this money to a diverse range of providers to match diversity in the community will be done promptly this year. It is a very important initiative. It was only last week that we heard about the allocation of that money from the current year.

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