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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2381 ..


: I wanted to speak specifically about ACT Housing and housing services. As I have said elsewhere, I am disappointed that the combined target for the number of community and publicly owned dwellings is 90 dwellings lower for the coming year than it was last year.

The ACT population continues to grow, and the number of people in desperate need of affordable housing has grown even faster. I hope the government will move beyond its narrow election promise of maintaining the number of public and community dwellings and start expanding the number of dwellings as our population grows. As has been discussed repeatedly, the government should be looking after the people who are in acute housing stress. The minister spoke basically on that under part 1.14. The government should be providing support for these people.

I refer to the Estimates Committee report-specifically recommendation 6.23-the estimate in relation to the future of Currong Apartments. The government's response to this recommendation is that the minister will make a decision as to the future of Currong Apartments prior to the end of December 2003, as he stated in the Estimates Committee hearing.

I remind the Assembly that the minister has repeatedly said he will be making a decision on the future of Currong Apartments in the near future. He said it in the Estimates Committee for the 2002-03 budget and we expected a decision by the end of 2002-03.

He said it to the Planning and Environment Committee, when they were looking at annual reports, and we expected a decision soon after that. We are still awaiting an outcome on that decision. If we are still waiting for an answer on the future of Currong Apartments in December, I will not be surprised-but I will be disappointed.


: I seek leave to speak on this part.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: Obviously, housing services are an important topic in a budget. I was interested to see how the Western Australian government dealt with questions of affordability. They did it within the broader framework of homelessness. They had a task force, driven by the community, to prepare a plan. The government-I understand from its public statements-is taking on those recommendations, overseen by an ongoing committee drawn from the original task force.

Each department within the government was addressed separately in the report. Their current contribution to homelessness and affordable housing was analysed and recommendations made for their contribution to the remedy. Targets of timelines and clearly identified responsible agencies are listed. However, here, in this budget, the Land Development Agency is to be run with a commercial focus alone.

The government's response to the affordability task force shows a sometimes shallow grasp of the problem-for example, saying that, simply by releasing more land, the affordability problem would be reduced. However, releasing land with record high prices being paid has not demonstrably contributed to affordability.

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