Page 2082 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 21 June 2011

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MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, are you aware of the advice from the federal Auditor-General to the federal government not to divest itself of properties and assets, and do you apply this principle to the ACT government?

MS GALLAGHER: I think the context of those comments was not necessarily against ever selling anything, but I think there is a question, when you are selling assets, about where you make those further investments. The intention here and in the housing area is, as we sell assets, if they ask is some work underway around that, we would re-put that money back into delivering other housing options. Again, there may be a change in our assets, and there will be decisions to sell and acquire new property, but they will be taken with the very firm view that we need to increase our capacity to respond to people who need further support when it comes to their housing and increase the range of options available.


MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for housing. Minister, I am aware that yesterday you announced a new Housing ACT product. Can you outline how Housing ACT’s new lease-licence program will make homeownership more attainable for low income, older Canberrans?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her question. The ACT government is aware of the need to provide a range of affordable housing products for a broad range of Canberrans, including older citizens. I am pleased to inform the Assembly—

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: That is enough; order!

MS BURCH: that the government is introducing a new scheme which is designed to improve the supply of affordable housing for older Canberrans who are on lower incomes.

According to the Affordable Housing Task Force, there are a growing number of older people facing housing affordability issues in their retirement. For older people who are low income renters or those with limited assets and income, there are very limited choices when it comes to appropriate and affordable housing options. These people are reaching that stage of life where they need housing that is secure, suits their needs and somewhere where they can age in place.

This interest in an affordable housing product was reinforced when the public was consulted on the development of older persons accommodation on community facilities land, in areas such as Kambah, Curtin and Chapman. There was strong interest in using some of the sites for affordable housing for older people who were not public housing tenants.

The scheme the government is introducing is based on a lease-licence agreement—an arrangement that is used at many retirement villages in Canberra. Under this scheme, people will effectively “own” the unit that they lease until they leave.

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