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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2382 ..



Arguably, if the primary objectives of land development are commercial, then why would you try to sell off land that is more affordable-and why would you choose areas which already include housing at the lower end of the market? The government does need to be intervening and to recognise that the market will not look after our social and environmental needs on its own.

The government's budget packages on housing, whilst useful, include a mix of the programs carried over and the new initiatives. It was not always clear which was which. The same comment applies to the government response to the Estimates Committee report. I cite, for example, the rental bond scheme announced in last year's budget. That is not yet up and running, but it got a run in the list of responses to affordability problems.

The government's promise, in its response to estimates, to release an implementation plan on affordable housing is certainly welcome-various mechanisms at particular sites and further investigative mechanisms, including the recommended three to four per cent hand-back option in new multi-unit development sites. On the last point, I would have hoped the government could have done that by now.

Money for homelessness is welcome, but there is confusion surrounding the form of implementation. In its budget papers, the government has promised to spend $13.3 million to target priority areas identified in the homelessness needs analysis. Women's needs were not adequately canvassed in the needs analysis. Perhaps the fact that there was a committee inquiring into the needs of homeless men and their children led to an excessive focus on that area of need.

The report did canvass the needs of women. It says that while the needs analysis conducted by Morgan Disney for ACTCOSS accepted that there is a level of unmet need for men with accompanying children, the study did not identify this work as a priority need, in comparison with other groups.

At paragraph 4.5 the committee notes that all crisis accommodation services for men report that they cannot accommodate the demand. It goes on at paragraph 4.6 to say that the situation is no better for women. Yet the government has specifically stated that it is addressing the question of money for homeless families, men and couples.

In the first year, there will be an additional 15 supported houses for individual families. This has been consistently identified as an area where there is a huge gap, not just unmet need. There are an additional 10 medium-term places for single men, and crisis accommodation for six couples, but where are the single women? There is nothing specifically for women, even though the needs of women and men are the same. Why is that? How does this happen? Is it swayed by a loud voice?

Toora's submission to the Estimates Committee was articulate on this issue. The representatives said that the government has failed to fund outreach workers for women with mental health and other complex needs, to assist them to access and maintain housing and address a range of other issues. They also said that the government has failed to provide the limited funding needed for an effective outreach

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