Page 4207 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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Social housing

Ministerial statement

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections), by leave: For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Social Housing Stimulus Package—Stage 2—Ministerial statement, 17 September 2009.

It is my pleasure to advise the Assembly that the second and most significant stage of the commonwealth government’s social housing stimulus package has been agreed to and was announced at an event at the Assembly yesterday.

Stage 2 will provide 293 new public and community housing properties in the ACT at a cost of $76 million. The number of homes purchased or constructed under stages 1 and 2 will now total 350 and, of these, 115 dwellings will be built by or for community housing providers and 155 will be constructed especially for older Canberrans. This, of course, contributes to our commitment with the ACT Greens.

Members will be aware that the commonwealth set firm parameters on the type and function of housing to be constructed under stage 2, parameters that will be met by the territory. The most significant related to reducing concentrations of disadvantage. The ACT is somewhat well placed in this regard thanks, in part, to its history as a government town.

We have a remarkable spread of public housing across Canberra, including public housing located in some of our most centrally located suburbs. The social benefits of this have been widely documented. The majority of public housing stock is, of course, located in single detached houses, salt-and-peppered across Canberra, or in smaller complexes of less than 40 units and are often sought after due to their size and the age of the dwellings. In the case of aged accommodation, the significant advantages of collective security and communality of interests means that larger developments are not only acceptable but desirable.

The stimulus package has provided the ACT with an unprecedented opportunity to provide suitably located, quality accommodation for older Canberrans. Yesterday I announced that under stage 2, community facilities land will be utilised for the construction of 132 two-bedroom units, providing supportive accommodation for older people. The sites include Florey and Macquarie in the north and Rivett, Mount Neighbour, Chapman, Conder and Curtin in the south.

In fact, we have been able to capitalise on the stimulus funding to increase the number of older persons units to a level that was more than required of us by the commonwealth. With a rapidly ageing demographic in Canberra, there is an increasing demand for well-located two-bedroom properties in both the public and private sectors.

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