Page 3362 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 19 August 2009

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(c) the social and environmental benefits of the award winning K2 Apartments constructed by the Victorian Office of Housing in the central Melbourne location of Windsor; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to conduct a well organised and resourced project competition for the Currong site to build a sustainable neighbourhood that will:

(a) provide homes for a social mix of residents;

(b) meet best practice environmental performance standards; and

(c) feature healthy, inclusive, high quality design.

Canberra people expect to see best practice, creatively designed buildings in our city. As much as we hope to see such buildings in the Parliamentary Triangle and in expensive suburbs, in nearby rural residential and perhaps at the international airport, we hope to see it in our shops and in our public and community housing.

This motion is about possibility and ambition. In a very simple way, it asks the government to aim high with its own buildings and initiatives. It asks the government to ascribe the same rights to a high-quality building environment for people who live with disadvantage or are at risk of social exclusion as others in our community enjoy. It addresses the common desire to see the ACT government take on board the social and environmental impact of its own developers. It taps into the desire that so many of us have, to make Canberra into the city that we know it can be: one with a footprint for our environmental future, organised to meet our social and cultural needs and economically sustainable over the long term.

What the Greens are proposing is a concrete initiative which can deliver the goods. I will briefly outline public housing developments in other places that the new Currong could follow and how project competitions in the past have worked to get them built. I will also address the notion of housing affordability in this context. What is affordable to people depends on their circumstances. Building lower priced housing on the edge of Canberra is not always so good. Proximity to services, links to community and the size of transport and energy bills are all factors in the equation.

The new Currong can play an important role in providing a range of social housing solutions to Canberra people. Design competitions do deliver high-quality outcomes. The K2 apartments in Windsor, Victoria, were the result of a design competition run by the Victorian Office of Housing and the Australian Institute of Architects. The competition was launched and indeed driven by the housing minister in 2001. The competition called for buildings that would last 200 years and would generate their own power, would use less than half the usual amount of water and would provide an adaptable way of housing for 150 public housing residents.

The K2 apartments pioneered low-emission building materials, incorporated attractive low-water gardens and a social as well as an environmental approach to sustainability. The cost premium for making this attractive, innovative best-practice approach was less than 10 per cent. It will be paid back through energy maintenance and water

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