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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3234 ..

government has in place a program of direct land sales to ensure that they continue to have access to land.

The government has also provided an injection of $40 million in equity through the transfer of 135 properties from Housing ACT, of which 132 have been delivered and three are currently in the process of being transferred. The government has also provided a $50 million loan facility which will enable CHC to replenish its housing stock and deliver its 1,000 new affordable properties within 10 years to ensure that more Canberrans have access to affordable housing.

The government remains committed to ensuring that those who need it have access to public housing. We have reviewed our public housing stocks to ensure that they can better meet the needs of our community. The government remains committed to maintaining our public housing levels, and at 31 July 2008 we had 11,551 properties. Maintaining the high level of public housing requires careful management of an asset that is worth $3.7 billion. A review of the public housing asset management strategy is well progressed.

Eligibility criteria have also been reviewed to ensure that those who need public housing as a priority can be housed within three months. Retaining the most affordable housing—public housing—at high levels ensures that those most in need are able to limit the amount they spend on housing and maximise expenditure on daily necessities.

Changes to the public housing allocation system have enabled the government to focus on those people in the ACT community who are most in need of housing assistance and has significantly reduced public housing waiting times. This week the average waiting time for those Canberrans with the greatest need is 72 days, which is a significant reduction from the previous system of nine months.

The improved targeting has also enabled Housing ACT to work with appropriate community and mental health services. This ensures people have the necessary supports to enable them to live in and contribute positively to our community. The government has introduced eligibility reviews to encourage tenants on higher incomes of over $80,000 to purchase their own home or consider moving into the private rental market.

A shared equity scheme will also be introduced which will allow people who might not otherwise be able to enter the housing market to purchase their own home. The government has committed $20 million over 10 years to improve the energy efficiency of public housing properties. Properties that are more energy efficient are cheaper to maintain and will help with climate change. Mr Speaker, this government remains committed to ensuring that all Canberrans have access to affordable housing.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (3.58): I welcome the opportunity to speak about housing affordability today. I thank Ms MacDonald for bringing this issue forward. It is worth looking at a number of things: first, the government’s record on affordable housing and housing affordability and, next, our plans for the future. Of course, there are some specific measures that the government

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