Page 2666 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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territory, particularly in the area of affordable housing. The ACT government will continue its significant work to increase the supply of affordable housing in the territory.

In addition to the initiatives under the affordable housing action plan, it is important to stress here the very positive role of the government’s tax reform agenda in improving housing affordability through the abolition of one of the most pernicious taxes, stamp duty, and through the expansion of our homebuyer concession scheme.

Common Ground adds another innovative model for disadvantaged Canberrans to access secure housing. As part of the development, Argyle Community Housing has made an application for funding under the national rental affordability scheme for 20 affordable rental units in the Common Ground project. It is pleasing that the ACT has been one of the most successful jurisdictions in accessing this commonwealth scheme, securing 6.8 per cent of all of the incentives awarded nationally, equating to 2,695 dwellings in total. When you consider that the territory’s population is roughly two per cent of the national population, to have secured 6.8 per cent of the NRAS incentives is recognition of the work that has been undertaken in the territory.

For each dwelling delivered through the NRAS scheme, applicants receive incentives equivalent to $7,763 per annum for 10 years from the commonwealth and $2,587 per annum for 10 years from the ACT government. Dwellings must be rented to eligible tenants at no more than 80 per cent of the market rate. The ANU is nearing completion of 1,022 new dwellings for student accommodation under this scheme. The University of Canberra is in the process of providing 1,000 new student dwellings. CHC Affordable Housing will also deliver 601 new dwellings through the scheme. In March this year, CHC began advertising its NRAS investment product in Bruce for sale to private investors.

There is no doubt that Common Ground is a missing piece of the puzzle in how we address homelessness in the territory. Its strengths lie in the wraparound services it provides to its tenants and also in the mix of tenants. With half of the tenants being income earners, they provide positive examples to other tenants coming out of homelessness of participation in everyday social and economic life.

Another of its key aspects is its integration into the local community. There is no doubt that the continuing engagement between the ACT government and the Gungahlin community in the development of this model will enhance its success. I understand that the Community Services Directorate’s presentation to the Gungahlin Community Council was well received, with a number of locals expressing their interest in working together to advocate throughout the community on behalf of this innovative new housing model.

Indeed the location of Common Ground in the Gungahlin town centre will see residents able to take advantage of the many new amenities that the town centre has to offer, including the child and family centre, the Gungahlin community health centre, the Gungahlin library and, in the not-too-distant future, the Gungahlin leisure centre and enclosed oval.

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