Page 637 - Week 02 - Thursday, 14 February 2013

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In a similar vein, I remain committed to delivering improved energy efficiency for rental properties. We must look for ways to take landlords on that journey towards energy efficiency or we will risk leaving an entire sector of our housing behind. I appreciate that the Assembly in the last term declined to support my bill that would seek to set minimum standards for rental properties but I remain committed to the idea that we can improve energy efficiency standards in rental homes. The recent terms of reference for a review of the Residential Tenancies Act released by the Attorney-General make specific reference to the issue of sustainability and specifically look at the effects of mandating or providing incentives for retrofitting sustainability measures into rental properties.

On housing, I am very proud that the agreement continues to expand the program of public housing energy efficiency upgrades, with $4 million per annum over four years. As housing minister, I will take great pleasure in overseeing the improvements to public housing. The government is, of course, landlord of 11,000 homes in the ACT, and I take that obligation very seriously.

I am also pleased that the parliamentary agreement includes commitments to building Common Ground, which is a key opportunity to tackle homelessness in the ACT. For those not familiar with Common Ground, it has been described as supportive housing that provides people with both a permanent home and the necessary support to help them achieve stability and improvement in their lives. Using a housing first approach, Common Ground takes people directly from homelessness and follows through with the support they require to stay housed, improve their health and live independently. Housing first is a model that recognises stability is more likely to be achieved if an individual has somewhere permanent and safe to live, something most of us take for granted.

Common Ground already operates with great success in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart and other cities around the world and will be a welcome addition to the community’s ability to address homelessness in the territory. The creation of Common Ground in Canberra will be a remarkable achievement, and I would like to thank the passionate and hardworking board of Common Ground Canberra, who have successfully brought the project this far, garnering tripartite support for the project as well as considerable philanthropic donations. I think this has been an extremely effective community-driven campaign, and it is one the Greens certainly support.

Another very important part of the parliamentary agreement is the ongoing reform of governance and important accountability mechanisms that the Greens have long advocated. Just this morning, I tabled in this place an exposure draft of significant reforms to the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act. This is the first of a series of Greens’ bills that will improve government accountability. In the not too distant future I will be presenting a new freedom of information bill that will create a new scheme to ensure that more government information than ever before will be made available to the public in a timely way.

I will also present a bill to make the Auditor-General, the Electoral Commissioner and the Ombudsman officers of the parliament. Integrity agencies form a vital part of

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