Page 4219 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2005

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initiatives; and regulatory structures affecting the not-for-profit sector, the private rental market, the supply of land and land use planning.

One area of particular interest to state and territory ministers was the targeting of the first home owners grant. Ministers undertook to look at ways to improve targeting of this grant to ensure that it was not being provided for million-dollar properties. This consideration would take into account regional variations and funding being retained to progress national affordable housing objectives.

Housing ministers also pledged themselves to national action on indigenous housing, including a reform agenda that features a commitment to increase the effort of mainstream programs in housing indigenous people; initiatives to increase indigenous home ownership; and measures to improve the standard of indigenous housing, particularly where dwellings are in a poor condition.

Along with these initiatives, all ministers acknowledged that there was an undeniable case for new investment to avoid a life cycle of poverty and ill health for indigenous people in housing need. Ministers agreed that, as a precursor to any new investment, which is a shared responsibility, it is essential that reform be initiated to improve the collection of rents, to increase training and job opportunities for indigenous people and to improve the maintenance of existing housing stock.

Ministers acknowledged an urgent need for additional dwellings in the social housing sector. Ministers also agreed to hold further discussions on possible new funding options in mid-2006 and to invite ministers responsible for indigenous affairs.

MS PORTER: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Could the minister please advise the Assembly how ACT Housing providers fared in the awards section of the National Housing Conference?

Mrs Dunne interjecting—

MR HARGREAVES: I did not hear the disparaging remark on our community housing sector that Mrs Dunne put across the chamber, and I am glad I didn’t because that would be an appalling thing to do.

The national community housing awards formed a part of the National Housing Conference in Perth and were established in 1999 to identify and recognise best practice in community housing in Australia. The awards are part of a national system of encouraging a culture of continuous improvement in the community housing sector, and it is with great pride that I convey to you the success of our own Havelock Housing Association in these awards.

There are six award categories: overall excellence in community housing; excellence in service to tenants and communities; excellence in service to tenants and communities in remote and rural areas; excellence in organisational management; excellence in asset management; and excellence in corporate governance.

Havelock Housing Association, the largest community housing organisation in the ACT, was a finalist in five of those six categories—that is all categories other than the one

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