Page 3632 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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I look forward to the continued input of all ministers and members, and community providers and private sector stakeholders, as we continue to work to address housing affordability in the ACT. It is a problem that people in the community talk to me about, and I know they talk to other members. It is a source of stress for people in the community. Some of the figures I identified today paint the picture of the very real situation that we face out there.

Whilst government has made progress in innovative products, it is clear that that has not been able to keep up with the problem. We do have more work to do. That is the challenge that sits in front of us. What that challenge needs is actual solutions. It is easy to come into this place and identify the problem. We are all quite capable of that. It is easy to come into this place and scoff at the steps that have been taken. The real challenge for all of us is to continue to work to actually deliver real, practical outcomes on the ground that meet the needs of those that are struggling to find stable, secure and safe housing.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.54): I also rise today to speak on the importance of affordable housing in the ACT. Of course, it is no secret that this is a topic I am very interested in. In my previous role at Homelessness Australia I saw the direct consequences of the affordable housing crisis we have in the ACT.

Housing affordability relates directly to a person’s ability to pay for all aspects of their housing, and there is not one easy fix. It is an intricate issue which is a product of local economic and social policy, employment and rates of pay, the management of the public housing system, the cost of utilities and, of course, rates and taxes. It is a multifaceted and complex balancing act, and in the ACT we can see that perhaps it is not quite balanced. Housing affordability, which we are talking about today, is about not just home ownership but home or house rental as well.

The Anglicare Australia rental affordability snapshot for 2013 stated:

Persons employed in lower paid industries or reliant on Centrelink benefits have next to no options in this market.

It goes on to say that “the rental affordability situation for families and individuals reliant on government benefits or the minimum wage remains extraordinarily bleak” in Canberra.

Only last week RP Data research showed that less than 30 per cent of suburbs in Canberra have a median house price of less than $500,000. And out of 900 suburbs in Australia with a median house value of less than $300,000, the ACT did not have a single one of those suburbs.

We have above average rates of homelessness, and the public housing waiting list continues to grow. In the last two years the waiting list for public housing in the ACT has increased over 40 per cent. There are 11,851 public housing properties in the ACT, and as of 30 June 2,231 were on the waiting list for these houses. Simply, that means we would need 20 per cent of the current public housing tenants to vacate for one

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