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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3182 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the Stanhope government is committed to the retention of a strong and viable social housing system in the territory. This is in recognition of the important role public and community housing plays as a foundation upon which individuals and families build stable, healthy and productive lives. This commitment to public housing was reflected in our election promise to maintain public housing stock numbers and implement measures to make public housing more responsive to the needs of its tenants and the community.

The public housing assets total approximately 11,400 properties, valued at some $2.4 billion. This represents almost 10 per cent of the total housing stock in Canberra. Arranging the acquisition and disposal of stock, property upgrades, repairs and maintenance is an enormous asset management task, by any standard. It is therefore essential that a formal framework is in place to support cost-effective service delivery and financial sustainability now and in the future.

Accordingly, a public housing asset management strategy has been developed. This defines a set of principles for guiding public housing asset management decisions. It is part of a broader strategy to achieve the government's commitment to equitably meet the housing needs of the ACT community.

The public housing asset management strategy highlights the challenges confronting the public housing portfolio. Government has a duty to plan today for public housing requirements over the next 50 years. This is no easy task.

The issues we confront are many and vexed. Our stock is rapidly ageing and no longer meets the needs of many applicants. Most of the multi-unit complexes are now more than 40 years old. Many of these do not comply with community standards or current building codes and have significant tenancy and social issues. The government is tackling fire safety deficiencies in the large complexes, with a $16 million program over two years.

There is also a significant maintenance backlog. The extent of this backlog will be known only after the total facility managers undertake a full audit of all properties over the next 12 months. Each property will be assessed against nationally accepted standards developed specifically for application to the public housing stock.

A planned maintenance program will be developed using the stock condition information, to prioritise expenditure and target available funding for those dwellings that do not meet the defined standards. Make no mistake-the task of rejuvenating the stock to better meet tenant and applicant needs and, at the same time, maintain total stock numbers is a substantial challenge for my department within available funding.

Significant efforts have been made in recent years to upgrade the asset portfolio. For example, a total facility management concept has been introduced to pursue efficiencies in the maintenance and upgrading of stock. Some reconfiguration of the stock has also occurred. There has been a significant reduction in the number of bed-sitter flats and three-bedroom properties and an increase in the number of one and two-bedroom properties. Increased sales in the inner south and inner north have enabled additional stock to be acquired in Gungahlin and Tuggeranong. The strategy

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