Page 4672 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 19 October 2011

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MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in housing. As members will be aware—I think I have covered some of this, but again for the information of members—421 properties, or 45 per cent more than the commonwealth’s original requirement, have been developed under this program.

Of these 421 properties, 297 have been built for older Canberrans. I am advised by Housing that to date, 419 of the 421 properties have been completed and handed over. The remaining two properties, which are located in Ainslie, are expected to be completed in November of this year. Of the 419 completed properties, 362 are occupied and many of the remaining properties have either been matched to people or are awaiting their allocation.

The new developments have provided positive benefit for many of the most vulnerable in our community and they have provided a significant boost to the number and range of affordable houses and purpose-built accommodation. With the development of purpose-built accommodation for older people, over 200 larger family homes have been returned to stock for allocation and 87 per cent of the re-allocated properties have been used to house vulnerable families, young people afflicted with a disability and those with complex needs.

Finally, with the 421 new homes for Canberrans, this will have a significant impact on Canberra families but also we note that 135 apprentices have been employed and the additional benefit through building and subcontractors here in the ACT.

Ms Gallagher: Mr Speaker, I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Rostered ministers question time

Minister for Multicultural Affairs

Services card—asylum seekers

DR BOURKE: Minister, last month you launched the services card to facilitate access to ACT government services by asylum seekers residing in the ACT. Can you advise whether the rollout of the card has commenced?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in the access service card. I can advise that on 5 September I was very pleased to launch the government’s new ACT service access card. This is a card designed for one purpose: to help asylum seekers in our community gain smoother access to a range of important government services, including transport, education, health care and legal assistance. We know that asylum seekers can experience some difficulties or confusion when trying to use such services, because of language barriers, lack of understanding about their rights or for any number of other reasons.

The ACT government’s policy is to provide the same access to services for asylum seekers as for refugees where appropriate. After consulting with key stakeholder groups such as the ACT Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Humanitarian Coordination

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