Page 2698 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 23 June 2009

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considerable, not only for social housing tenants and applicants, but for jobs and our economy. I can report that all of the $3.2 million provided in 2008-09 for repairs and maintenance has been committed. As of today, more than $2 million has been invoiced.

Further, nearly 100 public housing properties have had comprehensive upgrades to kitchens and/or wet areas, combined with internal and external repaints and new floor coverings. Ten properties have had their windows replaced and 26 properties have had complete external repaints. Mathoura Court, in Scullin, a complex of 12 two-bedroom units, has been completely upgraded. Upgrades to a further 133 single residences and a complex of 12 units are expected to be completed by the end of this month. What this means is that, by the end of June, we will meet the target of expending all commonwealth funding allocated for the current financial year.

As welcome as these maintenances initiatives are—and they will extend the economic life of a significant number of public housing properties—they are dwarfed by the scale of the program for new construction. These works will be delivered in two stages. Stage 1 has a total value of $11.147 million and involves 56 residential units. It has already been approved by the Australian government, allowing an early start to work.

The 56 residential units are being constructed in six building packages. Builders have been selected through the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Service’s existing panel of builders, with proposals submitted. Tenders have been finalised for all packages and contracts signed for four of these developments. Development applications have been lodged for all sites and approvals are being received. The majority of these developments are on greenfields sites, with established lease and development conditions, few constraints and few existing neighbours. They are all single-storey construction and the majority are detached or semidetached.

Stage 2 of the construction package is the major focus. The work will be closely analysed by the Australian government to ensure that the federal minister’s social housing reform agenda is addressed.

As I indicated to the Assembly in April, these reforms mirror in very large part work already commenced in the ACT. In addition, I made a number of undertakings as to how this work would be progressed. I committed to undertaking an expert workshop to provide input for the specifications and contracts for these housing projects. An expert panel was assembled in the areas of planning, design, construction, advisory services, equipment specification, advocacy and evaluation.

This group provided comprehensive advice to Housing and Community Services—advice that has now been incorporated into the plans, specifications and contracts for the new construction works. This advice included estate planning, site planning, orientation, architectural design, energy rating, interior layout, configuration and location of external spaces, impacts on adjoining developments, garden and landscape design, external materials and finishes, internal material, heating equipment and operation, and cooling.

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