Page 1361 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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If governments funded the implied community service obligation (the difference between market rent on public dwellings and the rebated rent paid by eligible and public tenants), as currently happens in New Zealand, then all housing authorities bar one—

That one is the Northern Territory

would be returned to operating surpluses.

By continuing to fund the growing costs of community service obligations in this area, government could place the SHAs on a sound and sustainable financial basis. However, such a policy implies that governments would need to commit a rising level of funding to bridge this gap; the rate of rise would depend on a range of factors, including the rate of increase in tenant incomes and the rate of house price and rental inflation.

This paper makes it quite clear that all governments have failed to secure the ongoing viability of public housing.

The ACT Liberals had a role in this when they were in government, selling ACT Housing assets. The federal government has introduced taxes that are a disincentive for investment in low cost housing. The Greens are pleased to note that the ACT government has made a significant injection of funds into social housing over the last two years and promised, during the election campaign, to increase capital funds. But these investments alone do not guarantee an adequate supply of affordable housing for the ACT. I notice that the housing minister in the previous government suggested in his report on his visit to the United Kingdom that at least an additional $30 million each year would be a suitable target for spending. The reality is that housing revenue is increasing more slowly than the total cost of housing and this needs to be recognised and addressed by the ACT government.

First and foremost, we need the sector to be viable, to put us in a better position to address the other needs and concerns of Housing ACT tenants. Second, processes like the tenants participation projects need to be encouraged and broadened. Third, community development initiatives in multiunit public housing developments need to be ongoing.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.41): I wish to add to the minister’s response re the current level of service delivery to tenants of Housing ACT. Mr Hargreaves has outlined this government’s commitment to providing appropriate housing services to tenants in some 11,000 dwellings across some 7,000 locations housing 30,000 people with the expenditure of $30 million per annum on repairs, maintenance and upgrades, as well as improving amenity and safety. The average age of a dwelling is 27 years, the highest figure nationally. The age and structure of the housing stock obviously imposes challenges to the management and delivery of maintenance services.

Recent client satisfaction survey results show that provision of maintenance is a key area of client concern. Maintenance services are managed through two total facility management, TFM, contracts. TFMs manage a total range of repairs and maintenance to properties. This was an arrangement put in place while Mr Smyth was minister for

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