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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 July 2008) . . Page.. 2682 ..

low-income families in close proximity to jobs or links them to educational opportunity. There is nothing in this regime that would encourage people in community housing to transition into private home ownership. Indeed, there is no clear vision as to who the target groups are for community housing, and how the regulatory regime will avoid a creep, or conversely a contraction, in the ambit of client groups.

The explanatory information provided in the bill is silent on these pertinent policy questions. The government may well refer us to their so-called affordable housing action plan. The document itself, it must be said, is vague in certain parts. (Extension of time granted.) Under that document, the obligation for delivering results is shunted in large part onto the private sector. Many of the so-called 63 action items are so vague as to be meaningless, many simply call for a continuation of existing policy, and other items are repeated in order to come up with the seemingly large total of action items.

As I have said, the opposition does support regulatory oversight of state-sponsored housing providers. We are not convinced that the government have got it completely right at the first cut. We will give them some benefit of the doubt and we will be negotiating now with the government, once we have had further briefings, and we look forward to having some constructive dialogue with the government on this matter between now and August. We certainly reserve the right to bring back some amendments which will hopefully strengthen the scheme, of which we are broadly supportive.

I look forward to those discussions with the minister and his office in the coming weeks, and to the opportunity to improve this legislation before it is eventually passed by the Assembly.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (11:45): On 8 May 2008, my colleague Mr Simon Corbell, the Attorney-General and Minister for Police and Emergency Services, presented the Housing Assistance Amendment Bill 2008. This bill introduces a regulatory framework for not-for-profit housing providers in the ACT through amendment of the Housing Assistance Act 2007. Members would be aware that the revised Housing Assistance Act commenced on 10 November 2007.

In recognising the broader response of government to housing needs, the new act amended the commissioner for housing’s title to Commissioner for Social Housing—the short title is the housing commissioner—reflecting responsibilities across public and community housing.

This bill amends the act to give the housing commissioner powers to regulate not-for-profit housing providers. The amendments in this bill support the affordable housing action plan 2007 which was released in April last year. That plan supports the expansion of social housing through CHC Affordable Housing, and this legislation ensures the protection of the community’s interest in the housing transferred by government to CHC.

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