Page 4989 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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(2) If a program exists, how many public housing tenants has Housing ACT identified through such a procedure and assisted in seeking services that increase the likelihood of employment.

Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Tenants seeking a rental rebate are required to declare the current source and level of income for all persons in the household. Any person who declares that they are receiving either Youth Allowance or Newstart allowance from Centrelink is considered to be “work ready. Tenants on an aged pensions, disability pension or single parent benefit are not determined as being “work ready” although these individuals may be looking for work.

(2) Under the 2003 Commonwealth State Housing Agreement, the ACT is committed to ensuring that housing assistance promotes access to employment with a number of key outcomes including that rent policies support access to employment and location facilitates access to employment.

In this context, a number of proposals are at various stages of implementation or development. These include the introduction of an incentives policy on 1 September 2005, that applies to tenants entering the workforce where the rental rebate applying before a tenant enters the workforce will be extended for a full six months from the day employment commences.

Another initiative relates to income, deeming for self-employed tenants where the income policy for such tenants has been amended so that where the stated income of a self-employed member of a household is less than the relevant Centrelink entitlement he/she will be deemed to have received a level of income equivalent to that entitlement, rather than the relevant trade award rate.

The recently released National Social Housing Survey 2005 shows that the percentage of tenants satisfied with their location, including accessibility to places of employment, remains above the national average. The survey also reported that the ACT has the highest number of employed or looking for work tenants than any other jurisdiction.

Housing ACT also provides linkages for tenants to the broader community through the Community Linkages Program, which encompasses a range of programs that provide training in employment related skills; and, the BAC (Bega, Allawah, Currong Flats) program, which specifically provides IT training. The Community Linkages Program also builds social inclusion and connectedness, which is well documented as contributing to people’s ability to reconnect with the community, including through seeking employment.

Housing—rental policy
(Question No 755)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, upon notice, on 15 November 2005:

(1) What were the outcomes of the review of rent policies for community and public housing tenants;

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