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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4660 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Ms Tucker has also moved that the government cancel its immediate plans to demolish Currong. The government has made no decision, certainly at this stage, to demolish Currong. It has not yet made a final decision on its future. We are considering that now. It may sell or it may redevelop, either by itself or as part of a joint venture. If it sells Currong it will be up to the new lessee to decide about the future of the building. If it is redeveloped by government or in joint venture-and I emphasise this has not been decided-any demolition will only be done in order to allow a new building to be constructed. The decision, when made, will be on the basis of achieving the best long-term outcome for public housing, whether that be cash, housing on site, social outcomes, or a combination of some or all of these.

The second part of Ms Tucker's motion refers to reports prepared for the previous government on options to refurbish. The government has carefully considered these options and concentrated on the long-term position by modelling to the year 2027. We took some time making the decision because we were carefully examining all options. Those reports were considered-indeed, they were specifically commissioned for such a purpose. The examination has been exhaustive and we have modelled for the long term. This approach is consistent with the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services' public housing asset management strategy which was recently endorsed by this Assembly.

I should make a few points about refurbishment, which culminated in the May 2001 report. Firstly, any major refurbishment of Currong would only extend its life by about 20 years. The cost of such a refurbishment would be in the order of $22 million today. This is an investment, in today's money, of over $100,000 per dwelling unit for a life of only 20 years. In order to fund the $22 million it is estimated the government would have to sell between 60 and 65 other dwellings. So where do we win?

Secondly, any major refurbishment of Currong would require the progressive relocation of tenants from each building in turn into other accommodation while refurbishment occurred. This would involve the government in extra accommodation costs and loss of rent, not to mention the disruption for the tenants. After 20 years, the government would then be faced with the only remaining options of either selling or redeveloping Currong at that time. The modelling indicates that, taking into account the abovementioned costs, including relocation costs, the government would be better off by some 60 to 65 dwellings now and 88 dwellings in 2027 if it made a decision to sell or redevelop now rather than refurbish.

The third part of Ms Tucker's motion calls on the government to report back to the Assembly by the end of February. I believe that my response today adequately considers and addresses Ms Tucker's concerns, and a further report is not necessary. I am confident that the government has made the correct, admittedly difficult, decision not to refurbish Currong.

The other parts of the motion, if carried, would only seem to hamper the progressive relocation of tenants into newer, appropriate accommodation to meet their individual needs. The approach adopted by the government is consistent with the Assembly endorsed public housing asset management strategy.

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